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Australian Store Launches "Give Registry" To Help Domestic Violence Survivors

Department store chain Myer created the initiative to help women "rebuild their lives, once piece at a time."

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Unless a person has been through it, it is hard to imagine the struggle and stress involved in extracting oneself from a violent relationship. Added to the emotional and physical upheaval is the fact that, very often, victims fleeing abuse do so very quickly, taking nothing with them.

Australian department store, Myer, has launched "Give Registry," which aims to offer a practical solution. It works in a similar way to the traditional wedding gift lists that department stores often operate but instead of being for newlyweds, this list allows customers to purchase essential items for women escaping abuse and trying to set up new lives.

The initiative was created by ad agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, creative director Evan Roberts explains that Myer, one of Australia’s oldest department stores, has a history of philanthropy but this year wanted to focus on helping Australian women who have experienced family violence. Since the store is stocked full of items people in the awful position of starting again with nothing need so desperately, they came up with this straightforward idea.

Items on the list include things like kettles, towels, dishes, and other kitchen items and, in a sobering reminder that many women who escape do so with children, there is also a selection of children’s clothing. Roberts says, "The items on the Give Registry were selected by women who have experienced abuse themselves. Their own experiences and insights helped us curate a list that would be most beneficial to women rebuilding their lives. Because the initiative is ongoing, the items on the list will evolve over time to meet changing needs and demand."

The campaign is supported by a series of TV ads, which pan around household rooms and zero-in on some of the items. They are accompanied by the voices of survivors describing how they feel about these simple items. Roberts says, "We wanted to hero the everyday items that form the Give Registry and show how much these things, that most of us take for granted, really mean to someone who’s left with nothing. The stark visuals are in direct contrast to the very real and emotive voices of the survivors sharing their stories. We didn’t want anything to compete or detract from the power and honesty of their words."

In its first week more than 2,000 items have been donated and Myer says that some of its customers who are planning weddings have chosen to not have a wedding list of their own and are asking friends and family to donate to the Give Registry instead. Myer, which has branches in all six Australian states, will match every contribution with a second item, up to AUS $475,000 per year. All the items and profits go to the Salvation Army’s women’s refuges across Australia.

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