It’s no wonder they wanted to be invisible…

Lily* spent her whole life trying to be invisible – to the bullies at school and to the stepdad who starved her, beat her, and sexually abused her. It didn’t work.

Last Christmas, Lily and her older sister Jasmine* had no way to hide. There was nothing they could do to stop their stepfather from doing appalling things to them. Things no child should ever experience.

It was only when they came into the care of Barnardos that they could begin to build the trust and confidence they need to let themselves be seen again.

Sadly, Lily and Jasmine's story isn’t isolated. In Australia, 1 in 6 girls are physically or sexually assaulted by the age of 16^, and the impacts of child sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Many survivors endure hidden emotional scars that can put them at a very high risk of developing mental health issues.

*Models used and names changed to protect privacy. ^Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child Protection 2018/19.

Join us in protecting vulnerable Australian children this Christmas

Lily and Jasmine don’t have fond memories of Christmas

Piles of dirty plates and food wrappers litter the floor. Clutter and clothing is strewn about the house. It’s clear that this is no place for two young children.

A terrified little girl by the name of Lily hides in the mess, trying to avoid being seen, hoping that if she stays quiet, keeps out of sight, and is very, very good, the bad things will stop.

Her older sister Jasmine, only 10 years old, does everything she can to protect her younger sister, even if that means facing her stepfather’s violent rage.

All their short lives, instead of the love and nurturing they deserved, Lily and Jasmine’s most basic needs were neglected.

Their mother was a drug addict, too afraid for her own safety from her violent partner to even feed, clothe and bathe her daughters… or to protect them from their stepfather’s brutal sexual attacks.

At school, they stood out for all the wrong reasons, bullied because of the way they looked and smelled. Jasmine was desperate to make friends, but no one wanted to play with her.

All they wanted to do was hide and be invisible.

Two lives filled with fear, hunger, pain, and humiliation. And no way to escape...

“We went to their school to talk to the girls in a safe place, away from their stepdad. Jasmine was terrified and ashamed, but desperate to protect her little sister from any more abuse, so she told us their stepdad had been coming into their room at night, sexually assaulting them, and filming what he did to them. Both girls were immediately removed from the home and placed in Barnardos Temporary Foster Care, and shortly after that their stepdad was arrested.”
- Jodi, Barnardos Caseworker


The trauma these little girls experienced was shocking.

Now, for the first time, Lily and Jasmine are living in a safe home with a foster carer who truly sees them and cherishes them. But they both know their foster home is only short-term and they’re very worried about what their future holds. They are also left with major psychological scars and trauma likely to last a lifetime.

Barnardos is determined to make sure Lily and Jasmine get the help they need after such a traumatic start to life.

It’s vital that when vulnerable children come into our care, they receive intensive, tailored support to meet their immediate needs - whatever they may be. This is paramount to minimising the risk of serious mental illness.

Lily and Jasmine desperately need a safe and caring permanent home, together, with people who can help them heal from their trauma.

That’s why your support is so important – your gifts make it possible for children like Lily and Jasmine to get the medical, psychological, and educational support they need, so they can start to heal and look forward to their future in a safe, permanent home.

Please give an urgent Christmas gift today, to help transform the lives of children like Lily and Jasmine so they can build the trust and confidence they need to let themselves be seen.


Help free a child from a life of abuse



Could help provide educational supplies to disadvantaged children in our care.




Could provide a vulnerable child with a new school uniform to help reduce the risk of being bullied because of the way they look.




Could help fund our crisis accommodation units where a referred child will be out of immediate danger and safe from abuse and neglect.



Last year alone, our supporters helped us impact the lives of:




Children, young people and their families.



Parents who were given the skills to keep their children safe through our parenting programs.



Children and their parents, who were engaged through school readiness and education support.


Reference - Barnardos Annual Review 2019-2020.

Help support more children like Lily and Jasmine this Christmas.