© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Family violence spike leads to working group

Dan O'Connor
Canterbury has seen an increase in family violence due to the pressures of lockdown  Pexels

An increase in family violence sparks support organisations and Police to establish a working group to support those in unsafe bubbles.

The working group was pulled together by Shine and Women's Refuge in collaboration with Police. Spokeswoman for Shine, Holly Carrington, said the group was looking at ways to work together to overcome barriers that Covid-19 presents.

"We are aiming to ensure consistency in responding to changing needs during the lockdown," said Carrington.

Police data indicates there have been 1155 family harm incidents from March 8 to April 8, with an average of 36 per day.

The highest recorded day, 57, occurred in the first weekend of the lockdown.

“We know there could be more that aren’t being reported,” said Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables.

“We realise this is a hard time for some families and we want them to know Police are there for them. We know that for some people, home right now may be an uncomfortable or scary place."


family harm infographic
Recent family harm statistics from March 8 - April 8 Dan O'Connor

Carrington said this was a difficult time for many people, but particularly for people trapped at home with an abusive partner or family member.

"Our message to anyone who knows or suspects that a friend, neighbour, family member or work colleague is in this kind of situation to keep in touch and offer support," she said.

"If it is an emergency situation, always ring 111."

Police don't want people to worry about leaving an unsafe bubble.

"Let me be clear, if you are in immediate danger and you cannot call Police on 111, leave your house and get out of harm’s way," said Assistant Comissioner Venables.

"Your safety comes first. Get to a safe distance and then ask a neighbour, or a passer-by to call 111 for you."

Shine and other organisations are providing the same services as before as an essential service.

"Any new families needing refuge accommodation are being housed in motels so they are not breaking the rules of families already in our refuges," said Carrington.

How to access help:

Always call 111 in an emergency.
211 Helpline (0800 211 211) – for help finding, and direct transfer to, community-based health and social support services in your area. 
Find your Local Women's Refuge by calling 0800 743 843 (0800 REFUGE) to be linked up with an advocate in your area. 
Victim Support – call 0800 842 846. 24-hour service for all victims of serious crime. 
Victim Information Line/Victim Centre – call 0800 650 654 or email victimscentre@justice.govt.nz(link sends e-mail)
Shine domestic abuse services – free call 0508 744 633 (9am to 11pm) if you're experiencing domestic abuse, or want to know how to help someone else. 
Family violence information line – call 0800 456 450 to find out about local services or how to help someone near you. 
Elder Abuse Helpline – call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK) - a 24-hour service answered by registered nurses who can connect to local elder abuse specialist providers. 
Tu Wahine Trust – call 09 838 8700 for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau. 
Shakti New Zealand – call 0800 742 584 for culturally competent support services for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin who have experienced domestic violence. 
Safe to Talk – sexual harm helpline. Call 0800 044 334, text 4334 or email support@safetotalk.nz(link sends e-mail)
Rape Crisis Centres – call 0800 88 3300 for contact details of your local centre. Provides support for survivors of sexual abuse, their families, friends and whānau. 
Male Survivors Aotearoa New Zealand – call 0800 044 344. Offers one-to-one, peer and support groups for male survivors of sexual abuse and their significant others.
Tu Wahine Trust – call 09 838 8700 for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau.
ACC Sensitive Claims Unit – call 0800 735 566 for access to services related to sexual abuse or sexual assault.
Hey Bro helpline – call 0800 HeyBro (0800 439 276). 24/7 help for men who feel they're going to harm a loved one or whānau member.
Korowai Tumanoko – text or call 022 474 7044 for a kaupapa Māori service for those with concerning or harmful sexual behaviour.
Stop – support for concerning or harmful sexual behaviour.
Need to Talk? 1737 – free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
Youthline – call 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz(link sends e-mail).
Kidsline – call 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age (24-hour service).
Skylight– call 0800 299 100 helping children, young people and their families and whānau through tough times of change, loss, trauma and grief.
Oranga Tamariki – call 0508 325 459 (0508 FAMILY) or email contact@ot.govt.nz(link sends e-mail) for concerns about children and young people.