The Salvation Army Albany Corps is calling for donations and volunteers to help combat the “shadow pandemic” of family and domestic violence at a local level.
The annual Red Shield Appeal, now in its 56th year, aims to raise funds for vital services such as food relief and crisis accommodation to help support vulnerable community members.
Family and domestic violence has been labelled the “shadow pandemic” after lockdowns caused an increase in the severity and frequency of family violence, according to The Salvation Army’s social justice stocktake report.
The Salvation Army Albany Corps wants to expand its community meal and emergency relief programs.
In collaboration with other community groups, the Salvos will also be conducting research into how to best provide short-term crisis accommodation options.
“We’re so grateful to the Albany community who have always rallied together and supported the Red Shield Appeal year on year,” Corps officer Colette Albino said.
“This year is no different – we need the help of community members more than ever as we continue to support those who have felt the devastating impacts of the past couple years.”
The Salvation Army has been working with food relief charity SecondBite which helps facilitate food donations from big grocers such as Aldi and Coles.
Last year’s Red Shield Appeal helped fund the renovations of a bigger pantry and fridge space, allowing the volunteers to store more food for the community meal program and on behalf of other local agencies.
“Last year, through Albany’s generous support during the Red Shield Appeal, we were able to commence renovations on a laundry and shower facility for individuals and families in crisis,” Ms Albino said.
“(We were also able to) increase our capacity to provide food to those in need and be a community hub for other agencies to provide the same.”
The risk of domestic violence has increased in the past 12 months due to economic insecurity, according to The Salvation Army.
One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
It is the most common cause of women and children becoming homeless in Australia.
“We cannot do it alone, it takes the effort of the community to bring about change and provide support to those in need,” Ms Albino said.
“If you have the means, please consider becoming a volunteer or donating to the Red Shield Appeal this year.
“Your generosity and support will help us to leave no one in need.”
The Red Shield Appeal will run until the end of June.
To donate or volunteer, visit salvationarmy.org.au/albany.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family or domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT or visit www.1800respect.org.au