The 50th sanctuary for women and children leaving domestic violence situations is about to open.
The sanctuaries are set up entirely by volunteers working for a new national charity, Friends With Dignity Limited, which responds to urgent requests for assistance by furnishing houses and turning them into homes.
Founded in September 2015 by Manuela Whitford, Friends with Dignity assists domestic violence organisations, services and refuges to relocate people who are victims of domestic violence, regardless of age, gender or sexuality, in a way that gives them back their dignity.
“We know there is a problem, so we strive to be the solution by involving everyone who will Step Up SpeakOut and Support to make a change, and restore the dignity of having a safe home, for One Friend at a Time,” said Manuela.
Donated items are sourced and collected largely via the Friends With Dignity Facebook page, which currently has more than 7500 followers and an ever-increasing reach of more than 70,000 per week. Volunteers collect and store the items, then create comfortable homes for families.
“Domestic violence has reached epidemic proportions, with one in three women being affected in their lifetime and two women dying every week in Australia at the hands of their partner or ex-partner,” Manuela said.
“Roughly one in three lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) couples also experience domestic violence and one in four Australian children experience domestic violence in their home.”
Formerly a Founder and Director of the successful Assist A Sista charity, Manuela is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of people affected by domestic violence. She is supported by an equally passionate Board of Members.
“Domestic violence spans all socio-economic boundaries and probably affects someone you know, whether it is someone in your family, a friend or a colleague. It is the single greatest health risk for women, more so than smoking, alcohol or breast cancer.
“It is also the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia.”
Friends with Dignity provides a more inclusive service to domestic violence victims; including men and members of the LGBTI community. “We are here to help everyone affected by domestic violence. A lot of domestic violence organisations, services and refuges exclude men and members of the LGBTI community, which can discourage them from reporting incidents and seeking help.”
“Domestic violence does not discriminate, and nor do we,” said Manuela.
The charity has also been able to respond to 35 urgent requests to supply uniforms and school needs to ten Little Friends, all through donations only
You can support Friends With Dignity by:
- spreading the word
- liking the Facebook page at facebook/friendswithdignity and sharing it with your Facebook friends
- register as a volunteer, the more volunteers the more Friends we can help restore their Dignity
For more media information please contact:
Manuela Whitford – Founder/CEO
Phone: 0450 821 377 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Scharenguivel- Vice President/Events Manager
Phone: 0413 591 055 Email: email@example.com