Denise Hunter and Paul Ferry from Safe Haven Community. Picture: Richard Walker
Denise Hunter and Paul Ferry from Safe Haven Community. Picture: Richard Walker

Toys bring comfort to young victims of domestic abuse

IT’S one thing to make a toy, it’s another for a 91-year-old man to lovingly sew loads of teddy bears in support of young domestic abuse victims in Brisbane.

Safe Haven Community in Red Hill had a dozen perfectly stitched bears and bunnies arrive this week with a wish from the elderly toymaker to give them to children displaced by abuse and homelessness.

Safe Haven Community founder Denise Hunter said the man, who lives in Port Macquarie in NSW, heard about the centre which offers accommodation for women and children, and wanted to reach out.

“The toys have already brought smiles all around,” Ms Hunter said.

“I gave one to a seven-year-old girl this week, who was living in a car with her mother. The car had bedding but there were no toys. She chose one of the bunnies and was smitten.”

Ms Hunter said the man who made the toys is a carer for his wife and sews as a hobby.

“We are really looking forward to meeting this wonderful gentleman at the centre to thank him when he visits next month. He has been thrilled with our feedback.

“A toy like that means so much. It’s a gesture that can help get a child’s mind off their current situation. To be able to have a toy — something soft and comforting — can make a big difference,” she said.

Safe Haven Community, founded by Ms Hunter, is a platform to match people in domestic abuse situations with safe, community-based temporary accommodation.

Safe Haven Community executive director Paul Ferry said the initiative encourages residents to open up their homes temporarily to those who find themselves in an abusive relationship.

“If we can provide women and children with a supportive environment, even just for a few days, we are confident we can help break the domestic abuse cycle,” Mr Ferry said.

Not everyone is in a situation to offer accommodation but could help in other ways, he said.

“Everyone can make a difference by donating money, their time, their reach and showing in proactive ways, no matter how small, that they want to be part of the domestic abuse solution.”


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