A Sunshine Hospital social worker is bringing dignity to women in need this Christmas, and she needs your help.

Senior social worker at the hospital, Diane Neri started working with not-for-profit group Handbags with Dignity 12 months ago to provide necessities for women presenting to the hospital escaping domestic violence.

“We always see a rise in women fleeing domestic violence at this time of year,” Ms Neri said. “I remember one woman in particular who had fled and didn’t have Christmas presents for her children, and that triggered this whole thing.

“I found Handbags with Dignity online, and they said they’d never thought about working with a hospital … they donated 60 bags for us to fill with basic necessities for those in need.”

Through community donations and outreach, the bags were filled with basic necessities that are often left behind by women in the rush to get away from a bad situation.

Ms Neri said the response from the community since launching the program had been overwhelming, and the reactions from women who were given the bags often brought a tear to her eye.

“I’ve been inundated with responses from the community wanting to donate toiletries, underwear, clothing,” she said. “You can’t underestimate how important it is to give these really basic things, to give some basic dignity to women. I had one woman burst into tears when I gave her clean underwear and a pair of shoes.

“We can treat their physical needs, but to treat their emotional needs is really important as well.”

Donate at greatestneed.wh.org.au/stories/diane