Our special Christmas

November 2015

Christmas is a time for excitement and family but here at McAuley Community Services for Women, the festive season brings anxiety and distress. At McAuley House, we see our women residents struggle as they recall past, happier times.

While our safe house may be quieter on Christmas Day, we brace ourselves for the days after when things have gone wrong at home and women and their children seek refuge. For these women, the mix of spending more time with the family has led to more intense manipulation, control, abuse and violence.

Last year, we saw incidents of family violence spike dramatically over Christmas, building on 2013 figures where Victoria Police had 172 reports of “people being victimised by loved ones” on Christmas Day.

For those of you who are reading this and who are experiencing family violence in its many shapes, please seek assistance before matters escalate.

At McAuley Community Services for Women, our family violence and homelessness services are planning now to give the women and children who are staying with us the care and support they have been missing from home.

We will be holding Christmas parties, a carol service, and on Christmas Day we will hand out presents which have been donated by you, our supporters. We know that some women will cry when they are given their gifts. Others will nod, speechless that someone cares.

As we prepare, I thank you all for your generosity this year, not only in financial donations, but your time, advice, support and guidance.

We wish you all a happy Christmas and festive season.

Jocelyn Bignold

CEO, McAuley Community Services for Women