Tillie's Story

Tillie is only seven years old

Her parents have had a violent relationship for many years. Tillie’s mum was terrified of staying, and just as terrified of leaving.

She was caught in a cycle of fear. Tension would start to escalate, and she would be walking on eggshells, fearing anything she did would cause her husband to snap. It was as exhausting as it was terrifying.

Tillie’s father threatened her mother if she ever left him, and she knew he was capable of carrying out his threats. Even if she did find the courage to leave with Tillie, she didn’t know how she could make it on her own. She didn’t have a job and she didn’t have anywhere else to live.

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One day Tillie’s father took his anger out on his little girl

That was the final straw for Tillie's mother. It shocked her that he could inflict such shameless pain on their daughter. At that moment she knew it was time to escape the violence. Instead of taking Tillie to school the following morning, she sought safety and protection for them both at a refuge. 

Not wanting to raise any suspicion when they left, Tillie and her mum only had the clothes they were wearing.  Everything else was left behind.

On arrival at the refuge, Tillie was given a Buddy Bag from the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. It meant so much to Tillie to have something to call her own. And helped her mum feel less desperate for her daughter.

Tillie is one of 90,000 children who have received a Buddy Bag from the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

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Buddy Bags help restore a sense of safety

Buddy Bags are backpacks full of basic, essential items for children in emergency accommodation. Not only do they receive essential items such as a toothbrush, underwear and socks, they are also provided with comfort items such a book and activity kit, PJs and the all-important teddy bear.

Buddy Bags do more than simply provide children in such traumatic circumstances with material aid, they also help restore a sense of safety and security during this time of trauma, which is one of the first steps to recovery.

For Tillie, the teddy bear was a new little friend to talk to and tell secrets, to confide in and cuddle with, as he slept in a strange place.

For her mum, she could feel some stability in life as she helped maintain Tillie’s routine:  getting changed into PJs, brushing her hair, cleaning her teeth, reading a book and snuggling under the covers with a teddy bear. So important after the trauma they’d just escaped.

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