24 Sep Coping during lockdowns
As we navigate through another Covid 19 lockdown, let’s spare a thought for those unfortunate people who have to deal with an abusive partner or family member.
While many New Zealanders have spent the last six weeks or so relaxing at home, for others, it’s been a horrific ordeal.
The country as a whole effectively grinds to a halt, but power and control imbalances, toxic behaviour and abuse do not stop.
We’ll always reiterate that lockdowns in themselves do not cause family violence – in the same way that alcohol, stress or poor impulse control do not cause family violence. A lockdown can however, exacerbate or magnify an already existing unhealthy relationship dynamic. Partner that with other factors like employment struggles, financial hardships and an uncertain future and we have a perfect storm for family violence to occur. An already high-risk situation can be amplified as regular schedules go out the window.
Family violence thrives behind closed doors, and relies on isolation and secrecy. A national lockdown also reduces the ability of wider family members, neighbours, specialist agencies and the community to support victims.
As a community we need to understand the difference between a perceived risk and an immediate threat to you or your family’s personal safety. During the last lockdown in 2020 there was some uncertainly about whānau reaching out for help as they didn’t want to break the rules. This time however the message is very clear from Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson. “It’s important to remember that you do not need to stay in your home or bubble if it is an unsafe environment” she said. Taranaki Safe Families Trust supports and echoes this message. If you have to get out because of safety concerns, get out.
Family Violence – Where to get help
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 111
Shine Helpline – now 24/7: 0508 744 633 or chat online with Helpful staff at www.2shine.org.nz
Are you OK – 9am to 11pm, every day: 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
Taranaki Women’s Refuge – Crisis Line (06) 759 5533 or 0800 827 973, 24/7 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
For anyone worried about their own abusive behaviour:
0800 Hey Bro: 0800 439 276 – 24/7 (For men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one or whānau member) www.hewakatapu.org.nz/services/0800-hey-bro
For anyone who experiences sexual harm:
Safe to Talk – 24/7 (sexual harm helpline): 0800-044-334 or text 4334 – 24/7. Chat online at www.safetotalk.nz
Dane Haskell is the co-ordinator for Taranaki Safe Families Trust.