Rebuilding smiles for domestic violence victims on this special day

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Today is International Women’s Day and to mark the occasion, the Australian Dental Association Foundation (ADAF) is calling on the public to help dental volunteers provide much-needed dental care to women and children who have suffered domestic violence.

“Victims and survivors of domestic violence all need support so they can have a fresh start to their lives. International Women’s Day’s #BeBoldForChange theme says that we, as a community, can be part of this change,” said ADAF chair David Owen, referring to the ADAF’s own efforts in this regard via its Rebuilding Smiles program which provides free oral health care to the victims of domestic violence through its network of dental volunteers.

Rebuilding Smiles has had a promising start with pilots operating in Victoria and South Australia.

Amy Rust, co-founder for Essentials 4 Women SA, has seen firsthand the benefits of referring women to the program.

“We all tend to take for granted things like a safe home and good health, including oral health,” she said. “However, many women who have been subjected to domestic violence have a totally different experience. Rebuilding Smiles, working with Essentials 4 Women SA, is performing a much-needed community service.”

Owen added: “Domestic violence survivors often experience not just immediate dental trauma but typically ongoing oral health problems related to the lack of dental treatment. Dental damage is a visible reminder of the abuse survivors have experienced which can greatly affect their self-confidence. From this perspective, restoring domestic violence survivors’ smiles and overall oral health can make a massive difference.”

For more information on how to become a Rebuilding Smiles partner or to make a financial contribution, contact info@adaf.org.au

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