LIFE

A NSW Police Officer Is Helping Trauma Teddies Reach Children In Times Of Need

Giving children comfort when they need it most.

11/03/2017 6:48 AM AEDT | Updated 11/03/2017 6:51 AM AEDT
Emma Whitmill
Leading Senior Constable Emma with the Trauma Teddies.

When we think about traumatic experiences we often consider the adults involved but how do police help the children on the front line of life's hardest moments?

One way they do this is by using something called Trauma Teddies. They're basically knitted bears that help bring comfort to children when they need it the most.

New South Wales Police Officer Emma Whitmill is leading the way when it comes to Trauma Teddies in the state, creating a whole community for them called Em's Friends.

"I originally had seen things through the Red Cross and other agencies. At my last station, you see domestics and how kids are affected -- or not affected, which can almost be more concerning," Whitmill told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I'd got into knitting through my old school teacher and then started making my own."

Emma Whitmill
Emma Whitmill and the Trauma Teddies.

According to the Red Cross the concept was created in 1990 by then superintendent of Campbelltown ambulance service Richard Hamilton. The officer had seen a child being given a teddy bear by the ambulance service in Camden and was immediately impressed by the calming effect the bear had on the child

Hamilton then enlisted the help of his mother, asking the Red Cross to assist in trying to provide more bears for kids that were being treated by the ambulance.

"It's not a new idea. It's something I hadn't seen rolled out across the police and it's the little things that can help. I couldn't do it without my helpers if it wasn't for all the lovely people who send in toys," Whitmill explained.

She tirelessly dedicates her spare time to creating a community of people that want to contribute to helping children who struggle to be in these situations.

She started it all with her school teacher and it began to slowly grow. After starting the Facebook page Em's friends - Trauma Teddies, Whitmill started to get more coming in than she needed for just one station and began to branch out across the state.

Emma Whitmill
Creating the teddies.

She explained the teddies are used for a number of situations ranging from general duties, domestics and traffic accidents. Another example she gave is when a child's parents are being arrested and they don't understand what's going on.

Whitmill explained that they also give them out to sick kids at Randwick Chidlren's Hospital, some fire stations and have local charities getting involved.

Emma Whitmill
Helping sick kids.

Emma Whitmill
Trauma Teddies with their new mates.

A police officer herself Whitmill said one of the core ideas of Em's Friends still remains as using them to work with police.

"The main idea is working with the police, so kids don't see as police as scary and see them as people they can trust," she explained.

It's a comfort thing, sometimes the kids don't have a lot. A gift is something they might not get that often. The link to police gives them security, a level of comfort with police and that's a good thing.

"Particularly if something happens. We want them to see police as someone safe and friendly to talk to. Bridge the gap, get that good rapport and make them feel positive," she said.

When asked about how many they've given out since she started the project three years ago, the numbers are at an incredibly impressive 2,222.

"It's a comfort thing, sometimes the kids don't have a lot. A gift is something they might not get that often. The link to police gives them security, a level of comfort with police and that's a good thing," she said.

"A lot of police do a lot of good things every day, this is just one little bit. I'm trying to help in my own way," she ended with humbly.

Emam Whitmill
On the scene.

Emma Whitmill
Helping out at Wollongong Court.

More On This Topic