Supporting Bayside’s Silent and Invisible Victims of Domestic Violence

A beginning, a middle and an end.  A story normally follows that sequence; unless, of course, it’s a movie by Quentin Tarantino entitled ‘Pulp Fiction’, in which case, the beginning is the end!  And you’re never quite sure where you are in the story. 

Unlike Tarantino’s influential number, many Hollywood movies, ‘Star Wars’ is a good example, tend to follow a common story template. 

In the beginning, you introduce your hero and her story. Then you provide a source of conflict; throw challenges in her path and generally make life difficult for her.  She eventually emerges triumphant after overcoming all obstacles and her foes.

In the book ‘Rain Before Rainbows’, written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by David Litchfield, a girl and her magical companion fox travel together from a sorrowful past, through challenging and uncertain times.  On their journey towards a world of colour and light, they meet friends who guide and support them.  They follow the promise of a rainbow and discover a way out of the darkness. 

What if the story isn’t fiction?  

In reality, our little girl doesn’t have a companion fox but is, nonetheless, travelling in uncertain times from a place of loss and despair. 

Perhaps she’s one of the ‘silent’, ‘forgotten’ or ‘invisible’ victims of domestic violence;  a child who’s lived during lockdown in a home where violence is directed by one parent at another?

According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey of all women who have experienced partner violence since the age of 15 years and had children in their care during the relationship, 59 percent reported that the violence had been witnessed by children. 

Children Fleeing Domestic Violence

Bayside Community Emergency Relief has become a friend to children fleeing domestic violence; helping children on their  journey out of uncertain times towards a world of colour and light.  

“We’re 100% volunteer run and community driven,” says Bayside Community Emergency Relief’s founder, Deborah Brook.  “In October alone, we put together and delivered almost 200 comfort packs for children displaced by domestic violence. They went to Impact For Women, Wayss and Family Life in Sandringham.”1

Rotary Members have joined the effort.  Beaumaris Rotary Club has purchased Christmas cards and Members have written special messages of Christmas cheer and donated jewellery accessories, such as bracelets, necklaces, rings, purses and hairbands, for the first 200 of the Christmas packs. 

Preparing Christmas comfort packs for children

“As of today, we’ve provided over 1200 comfort packs for children escaping domestic violence.  And we’re now preparing Christmas comfort packs,” says Deborah.

A comfort pack comprises items, such as a pencil case with colouring pencils, lip balm, sketch and colouring book, diary, UNO card game, soft toy, craft activity and personal items like a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. The packs are prepared for three different age groups and differ for boys and girls. 

In addition to the modest Rotary Club support, Bayside Community Emergency Relief has raised significant funds for this initiative from the public and received generous in-kind donations from organisations, including Gauntlets of Love, The Avenues, Officeworks (Highett), Sewing for Charities Australia and Connect Health. 

Rotary’s Club Correspondent would like to end this short article with a passage borrowed from ‘Rain Before Rainbows’.  

“In the midst of rain, rainbows can be hard to see.  But with courage and the help of good friends, there is always a way out of darkness.”

Want to learn more about Rotary? Please contact Megan at:  Tel: 0418 578 114

Megan’s our Beaumaris Rotary Membership Director. The title sounds a little formal but trust us, she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet! 

You can find ‘Rain before Rainbows’ read by Stanley Tucci by following this link; or go to the Instagram account @savewithstories, where other actors and actresses can be found reading more children’s books aloud.

‘Impact for Women’ is a volunteer charity committed to making a difference to Victorian women and children fleeing extreme violence at home.  ‘Wayss’ exist to support people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and people who have experienced family violence, to access safe, secure and affordable housing.  ‘Family Life’ is a specialist family services provider working with vulnerable children, families and communities.