In the weeks leading up to Christmas the Domestic Violence Crisis Service were inundated with donated toys for children and gifts for mum.
They didn’t do a call out, a charity drive or even mention it in the media. Yet for the first ever they came in their car and ute loads. Gillian Cordell the Executive Officer of the DVCS said she had never seen anything like this before.
We decided to call it the ‘Rosie Factor’, the grassroots shift achieved by Rosie Batty’s role as this year’s Australian of the Year. Jane Gilmore of Women’s Agenda really summed up the unprecedented impact Rosie has had on the age old taboo called Domestic Violence.
“Rosie gave a voice to the voiceless. The victims, once isolated and blamed for their own abuse have had a giant walk amongst us, and show the world that domestic violence is heartbreakingly real. Rosie’s grief and grace gave voice to all the women who suffer as she suffered, and made them unalterably visible. We can never thank her enough for what she did this year, for the lives she saved, the lives she changed and the immutable difference she made to the national understanding of what used to be a silent epidemic.”
– Jane Gilmore
Lauren Novak of The Advertiser wrote about the outpouring of community support for the DVCS and as she said “demand for help continues to grow.”
The DVCS distributes the toys and gifts to women’s services across Adelaide and while there are always children who need them, the sad reality is more will be needed in the New Year.
For many in our community Christmas is loaded with all sorts complications and the festive season can bring this all to head. However Gillian at the DVCS has found that because of the expectations of Christmas people often hold it together It’s then after the event that things turn bad very quickly.
New Years’ is their busiest time of year when they are run off their feet, with everyone working through the holiday period. This is when Gillian says they really need the toys, as: “quite often the kids are leaving their Christmas presents behind.”
All services have seen an increase in demand this year, yet there is still no way we can conclusively describe the extent of the problem.
In a recent interview for Radio Adelaide Breakfast Professor Kelsey Hegarty Director of Researching Abuse and Violence program at the University of Melbourne told me that while we have multiple areas compiling data we have no way of putting it all together.
She cites the hidden numbers of women experiencing abuse and not telling anyone. These are also the women who never access a DV service, or benefit from any of these donations.