Letters to the editor

December 13, 2017

Shoppers prepare for family time and social connectedness during the festive season, but for many others the Christmas period heightens their loneliness.

Vital issue tackled well

- Trevor Barker, Shepparton

I wanted to thank you for (Monday’s) feature on page 1 and 3 focusing on sexual assault and family violence.

Your journalist did a great job writing articles that helped raise community awareness of the challenges survivors of abuse face.

This is a vital issue for our community to effectively tackle.

Articles that raise awareness help those effected by abuse feel supported and included as well as help them to see that they are not alone.

They are part of the community that acknowledges their pain and stands with them against the harm abuse causes.

Well done for taking a lead on highlighting this issue.

Hope at Christmas time

- Wenda Donaldson, Australian Red Cross Victoria director

For many Australians, the festive season is one of joy and connection, when friendships and family are celebrated, food is shared and holiday plans are made.

Yet for others in our neighbourhoods, that sense of togetherness, warmth and belonging will not be felt, and rather an acute sense of loneliness will take hold.

Christmas Day might be lunch for one, sleeping rough or spent with the paralysing uncertainty of not knowing where family is, after being separated because of war or conflict.

There is hope. At Red Cross loneliness is not something to be ashamed of.

We’re there for people who have nobody else: calling and visiting, driving them to appointments, offering one-to-one support to those struggling with mental illness or giving a warm welcome to those seeking safety from violence or persecution.

We know loneliness doesn’t discriminate.

It stealthily creeps into our lives, no matter our age, gender or ethnicity, and takes hold when tragedy happens, like losing a loved one, a divorce or losing your job.

And if you don’t catch it early, loneliness can reach chronic levels and have a significant effect on our health.

But it’s bigger than that. When there’s no one by your side and you’re feeling deeply isolated, communities start to become less trusting, there’s more fear and places start to feel less safe.

It’s time for Australians to change that. Red Cross is calling on you to make this a ‘Season of Belonging’, by taking simple steps.

Be kind on social media, say hello to your neighbours, volunteer or check on someone you know is in trouble.

A donation to Red Cross will also help us continue our work with half a million of the most socially excluded Australians to build the vital connections they need. To help, visit redcross.org.au/act

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