Reducing domestic violence could be just a phone call away for those who need it most

Reducing domestic violence could be just a phone call away for those who need it most

COLUMN: July is Women’s Refuge Annual Appeal and Awareness month, and one of its aims is to reduce the sobering statistics that affect so many New Zealand families.

Nelson Women’s and Children’s Refuge Services has a 24/7 crisis line (0800 16 33 44) staffed by trained crisis workers. They provide a safe house for women and children, and offer education and support programmes for women, children and teenagers affected by domestic violence. These programmes include protection and police safety orders, as well as Family Court processes. You can ph 544 0616 for more information.

The Nelson Women’s Centre at 44 Trafalgar St provides a range of services for women and children, including practical social work support, advocacy and donation-based counselling. You can call 03 546 7986 for  a co-ordinator, and 03 546 8441 for social workers. And for women who have to leave home without supplies for babies and young children, the Koha Shed (ph 021 152 2779) can provide help in an emergency.

Although Shine is Auckland-based, it has a free national helpline (0508 744 633) available 7 days from 9am-11pm. Its website (www.2shine.org.nz) has a lot of really useful information.

In case you’re worried that someone may see you’ve been looking for help, there’s a ‘quick exit’ tab and a ‘hide my visit’ section which can be applied to all internet searching, along with advice on removing evidence of visits to similar sites dealing with domestic violence.

Shakti is a service for migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. Led by ethnic women, it provides a range of support services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

The South Island office is in Christchurch, but there is a free national 24/7 crisis line  (0800 742 584) and a very useful multi-lingual website. It too has a ‘leave quickly’ tab and advice about safe searching. Ph 03 940 9416 for information about Shakti’s services.

Sexual and domestic violence isn’t restricted to women. Men who are victims can get help and advice from The Male Room at 28 St Vincent St (24/7 hotline 03 548 0403) or by phoning 0508 744 633 or the ‘Are you OK?’ line (0800 456 450)

Did you know a recent law change (Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act 2018) allows victims to apply for short-term flexible hours and paid domestic violence leave? See www.employment.govt.nz/domestic-violence.

If you’re an employer and want to learn more about the impact of domestic violence on the workplace and develop policies to support affected staff, there’s a free downloadable online learning module on Shine’s website. (Look under their DVFREE Workplace Training Programme tab).

CAB’s friendly volunteers are non-judgmental and we offer a free, confidential service. We can explain your options, or put you in touch with specialist help.

Pop in and see us at 9 Paru Paru Rd, phone 548 2117 / 0800 367222. Or visit our website: www.cab.org.nz.