Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals providing escape bags for families fleeing abuse

BMDH Social Work head of department Katrina Anwar with welfare officer Aye Aye Moe.

Our homes have meant to be our safe places during lockdown but, sadly, there are still many families across western Sydney fleeing domestic violence and abuse, now with the added stress of a COVID outbreak.

In addition to healthcare and support, one of the ways Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals (BMDH) is supporting these families is with “escape bags” filled with basic necessities they may need in the midst of their crisis.

Toiletries, pre-paid mobile sim cards, nappies and baby wipes are among the items included in the care packs provided by social workers to patients and families who feel unsafe to return home.

BMDH Allied Health director Bobbi Henao Urrego said no-one should be subjected to any form of abuse, whether it be physical, sexual, financial, social or psychological.

“It’s extremely brave and difficult for families to escape family abuse or violence,” Bobbi said.

“We can provide them with support services and some essential items to help them during what can be a very distressing time.

“We recognise that reporting or fleeing an abusive environment is a significant step, but it’s even more difficult during a pandemic.”

BMDH welfare officer Aye Aye Moe and Social Work head of department Katrina Anwar.

The Escape Bags are supplied by Escabags – an Australian registered charity that creates and distributes practical support for domestic and family abuse victims.

Blacktown Hospital is also home to The Western Sydney Forensic Medical Unit – a state-wide service where injuries sustained by domestic violence victims are documented and can legally be used in court.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the Western Sydney Integrated Violence Prevention & Response Services (IVPRS) on 9881 8787 for free support.

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the following supports:

  • NSW Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 for crisis counselling, referral or support
  • 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support services
  • Link2Home on 1800 152 152 for crisis accommodation
  • Child Protection Helpline – 13 21 11
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14

If you are in immediate danger or in an emergency always call triple zero (000).

For more information or to obtain an Escape Bag, please speak with your BMDH social worker or contact department head Katrina Anwar on 0428 360 486.