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Introduction

Backpack is a lifeline to families fleeing abuse

Backpack is a lifeline to families fleeing abuse

Nearly one in three women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.* It can take enormous courage for a woman to leave an abusive partner; they may worry about where they can go, or that their partner will pursue them and harm them.

Spurgeons staff at our Children’s Centres come into contact with a number of women and children each year who have fled domestic abuse and may be living temporarily in a refuge, hostel or hotel room.

Often they have left the family home as soon as an opportunity presented itself, in only the clothes they are wearing and with whatever they can carry. That may not be much, if they are also carrying a baby or small child.

At Rookery Children’s Centre in Perry Barr, staff have recently begun to offer a backpack and suitcase filled with essentials for mums and children fleeing abuse. The contents are tailored to the specific needs of each family but will include a mixture of essentials and a few treats.

The backpack makes it easier for a mum to take everything with her when the family moves on from a refuge to permanent housing and leaves her hands free to hold the hands of her children.

For women who have fled abuse with almost nothing, it can be tempting to return to the family home. These backpacks and suitcases and their contents can make all the difference in reducing that risk, meaning that mum and children can stay safe and start a new life together.

*Office for National Statistics: Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview, November 2019.

About Spurgeons Children’s Centre Services in Birmingham:

Spurgeons Children’s Charity delivers Children’s Centre services in four Birmingham districts under the Birmingham Forward Steps Partnership. Spurgeons children’s centres are places where parents of children aged 0–5 years can share the challenges and joys of parenthood. The centres offer a range of activities and support services to help you with all aspects of parenting, helping you make sure your child gets the best start in life.

To learn more about our work in Birmingham, click here.