Hope for the future
“I cannot let my daughter grow up thinking other people get to choose her worth. That’s my driving force,”
says domestic violence survivor Cindy.
“This man doesn’t get to tell us what we’re worth. The magistrates don’t get to tell us what we’re worth. No one does.”
“In dead set honesty, this is my apology to my kids. I know it wasn’t my fault. And I know there was nothing I could have done to change it. But they’re my children. And I’m their mother. And I just want to relieve some of that guilt.”
Cindy is talking about the comfort kits that she and her daughter have created. The pair is now working to make the kits available in all Logan police stations with YFS’ support through our Spark initiative.
The kits are named ‘Lil Bug Love’ and they aim to keep children occupied when they find themselves at police stations with a parent escaping domestic violence. The best thing? The children can take the kits home.
Each contains a unique, one-of-a-kind soft toy (a snail), an activity book that also includes blank pages for older children to journal, coloured pencils, an eraser, a sharpener and a set of headphones that children can use to listen to kids’ shows if they have access to a device.
It’s the type of thing Cindy wished was available to her daughter when she attended the police station with nothing but the clothes on her back, half a tank of petrol and $12 in her pocket, to tell her horrific domestic violence story. She feels the kit would have distracted her child so she wouldn’t have to hear the sordid details all over again.
A couple of years ago, Cindy met a man through her children. “He targeted me. He was stalking me before he had met me, and it was through my children,” she said. But within three months, Cindy was trying to get out safely. The police connected her with our domestic violence unit a year into her court action.
“That’s when I came to YFS,” she said. “I came here when it was really hard for me. I wasn’t getting anywhere with court. And I had to do my victim impact statement. I told YFS about the comfort kits and my plans for them. They encouraged me to do up a rough kit. They then connected me to my Spark worker Deb. She introduced me to people who could help get my idea off the ground. And it’s all taken off from there.”
Deb coordinates Spark. This YFS initiative backs people in public housing to achieve their goals about work, learning, volunteering and small business.
“Not everyone fits mainstream employment,” Deb said. “Spark is an out-of-the-box approach to supporting people in public housing like Cindy to live a great life. When Cindy first came to me, I took time to listen to her story and understand her dreams. I then connected her to people who could help, and I’ve been backing her all the way to achieve her goals.”
“It is really inspiring to see everyday people doing extraordinary things in the world at grassroots level. Cindy is one of those everyday people who is doing just that.”
Crowdfunding and other fundraising activities are raising enough money for Cindy to equip every police station in Logan with the comfort kits. People all over Australia have also been inspired to knit and crochet cute little snails to put in the kits.
Her next step is to get the kits into Ipswich police stations. And her dream is to have them in every police station in Queensland.
Cindy said she’s open to discussing her situation because she feels society needs to talk about domestic violence more. “Everybody’s got to stand up and say, ‘What I went through wasn’t right. What you did is not acceptable’.”