Charity gifting domestic violence victims essential help

  • 23/08/2017

The humble backpack has a history of helping and now an Auckland mother is using it to support domestic violence victims.

It took founder of I Got Your Backpack, Anita Hinton, two years to escape her abuser.

"After I left an unhealthy relationship I left with nothing but my child," she told Three's The Project.

"I felt really worthless. I felt like there was no hope and I really didn't think life was ever going to go on."

Getting out in the middle of the night meant Ms Hinton had no time to pack her belongings.

"It was the little things at home that I really missed. It was having a story book to read to my daughter at night, it was having a toothbrush."

But, it was also a light bulb moment for Ms Hinton in what she calls the loneliest time of her life. She started her initiative, I Got Your Backpack, giving bags with essential items to women and children in refuge.

"It has water bottles, it has something to eat, it has activities for the kids, soft toys, toiletries for the mums... just to kind of help ease that discomfort of living in a safe house."

Demand has always outstripped supply. In 2015 more than 16,000 women and children reached out to Women's Refuge for help.

Last year the team made around 300 backpacks.

"I didn't feel so alone," one of the backpack recipients says. "I felt there was somebody else out there who understood what I was going through."

On Wednesday with the backing of BNZ the charity is packing a record 600 bags alongside local celebrities.

"I'm a state house kids, I grew up in strife," comedian and singer Jackie Clarke says. "Anything that gives those people just a hint that they are supported is a good thing."