BEING forced to take refuge to protect yourself and your children is tough at any time of year.
But for those being helped by Havant Women’s Aid, Christmas is especially difficult.
The nature of the way women come to arrive at the safe haven is such that many have only the clothes on their backs.
The News revealed last month how Shannon Turner, student union liberation officer at South Downs College, was behind an appeal for warm winter clothes to give to residents.
She was inundated with donations.
And last week she was able to deliver 40 extra large gift bags containing clothes, toiletries and toys to the refuge.
Miss Turner said: ‘I am amazed at the response we have had.
‘Christmas is a busy time of year, so for people to have taken time to think about our appeal and bring in donations is wonderful.
‘It will make such a difference to the women and children in the refuge.
‘I want to tell people how grateful I am for their kindness.’
The donations included both new and used items, with some items that have been hand-made.
Students held cake stalls, collections and raffles, raising £160 for the organisation.
Donations were received from staff and students at the college, as well as many members of the public who had read about the appeal in The News.
Local stores, including Boots and Tesco, provided clothes and toiletries.
Claire Chatwin, managing director of Havant Women’s Aid, said: ‘Christmas is traditionally a joyful time when families come together to celebrate, but for victims of domestic abuse it can be the worst time of the year.
‘Domestic abuse does not take time off at Christmas and for thousands of women, men and children who are living in the grip of violence it is a day like any other.
‘Shannon has ensured that Christmas will be that little bit easier for victims and survivors of domestic abuse in Havant borough.’
Havant Women’s Aid provides services to people who have experienced or who are experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse in their relationships. Outreach is offered to families not staying in the refuge but who are still in need of help.
For information go to hwaid.org or call (023) 9248 0246.