At Women's Refuge, we provide the support and information you need when you’re dealing with violence in your life.
If you're in danger NOW:
- Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
- Run outside and head for where there are other people.
- Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
- Take the children with you.
- Don't stop to get anything else.
So how do you know if you’re being abused? Use our Quick Quiz, called Are you being abused? If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.
No one deserves to be abused, and we are always here to help you. At Women’s Refuge, we won't judge you. We will listen to you and support you to make choices for your safety. Kia kaha.
Our services are confidential and mostly free. The only charge is rent if you use our safe houses, where you and your children can live if you need accommodation urgently. If you can’t afford this, don't worry - our main concern is your safety.
Contact us anytime, or any of the many other useful services, government departments and women’s organisations who are all here to help you.
The many ways Women’s Refuge can help you:
- a free 24-hour Crisisline at 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843, seven days a week for confidential advice and help in a crisis
- a safe house if you need accommodation urgently that’s in a secret location and that you can come to in a crisis day or night
- separate advocacy and support for women, young people and children whether you’re leaving your relationship or not
- follow-up after an incident in which the police were called
- visits to your home or a safe place
- online help service if it’s unsafe to phone, and an informative website with a ‘Hide my visit’ function
- outreach contracts for rural areas where there may not be a refuge
- accessing lawyer’s services
- dealing with the police
- arranging Protection Orders
- support in court matters
- help in solving your housing needs
- help in applying for benefits for you and your children
- help finding new schools
- referrals to appropriate counsellors and doctors
- childcare programmes
- emergency transport
- working with your whānau, and in many regions this can include men in your life.
Education and support groups
Learn about how to build a life free from domestic violence in our courses run by trained facilitators, while sharing stories with other women survivors of abuse. The tamariki or children's groups provide a safe, fun place for children to understand and begin to heal from the effects of violence. They also learn non-violent behaviour like no bullying or hitting, and how to keep themselves safe. The groups run by Women's Refuges are usually free or low cost, and they often provide transport, and childcare. Contact your local refuge if you’re interested.
A practical how-to guide on making a new life
Our book, Fresh Start: A Practical Guide for Women Wanting to be Free From AbuseFresh Start: A Practical Guide for Women Wanting to be Free from Abuse, draws on the understandings and experiences of Women's Refuge advocates, and the stories shared by women who have used our services. There is great information on surviving abuse, as well as the legal and practical information to help you make a fresh start in life. It’s free for women who use our services.
Women's Refuge advocates can talk to you about your housing options, from staying in your own home to finding a new one. We have safe houses for emergency accommodation.
Emergency transport to a safe house is available 24 hours, and we can arrange transport for you and your children to our education and support groups. We can sometimes help with transport to doctors, lawyers, etc.
We have spare clothing for you and your children if you have to leave home in a hurry. Later, we can help you to get your things from home, if you’re not going back there for a while.
If you have a Protection Order, you can get another court order that lets you access your own furniture. If you end up living in a new home, Women's Refuge may be able to provide you with some of our donated items, or help you find what you need at a second-hand shop. We can also help you access funds for furniture, bedding, kitchenware and clothes from Work and Income if you're on a benefit or low wage.
Ask your doctor to record any injuries or health problems so that you have a record of the effects of the violence. If you make a complaint to the police, they may request a doctor's examination. You don’t have to have this, but it may help with evidence for the case against the abuser. We can advise you about female or women-friendly doctors in your area, and you can take along a friend to awhi/support you.
It's a good idea to get a counsellor who understands domestic violence, including a gender and Power and Control analysis. Counselling can help you help you cope with surviving abuse, grief, shame, loss and anger.
Stopping violence and anger change for women
Some women who have been abused use violent behaviour towards themselves, their partners, children and others. Many women who have survived a violent relationship feel angry and don't know what to do about the rage they feel. If you’re hurting the ones you love, you can get help and support to change: you can learn about why you fall into old patterns of anger and violence, how to express anger in a safe and productive way, how to respond differently to stresses and conflict, how to discipline children without hitting, and having healthy peaceful relationships. Ask us to refer to you a programme or counsellor.
Women who have been abused can suffer from sexual or reproductive health problems such as pelvic pain, infertility or sexually transmitted infections. If you fall pregnant, you may have concerns because the violence can increase during pregnancy, miscarriages can be caused by physical violence, or you may want information about abortion. Talk to your midwife, Family Planning clinic, Sexual Health Service, doctor or nurse about your concerns and tell them about the violence. Women's Refuge advocates can refer and support you.
There are many organisations that provide support, education and advice on parenting for babies and children of all ages. They can help you if you feel angry towards your children, out of control, or stressed. Women's Refuge, Plunket, Parent Help or Jigsaw can help you find the right organisation for your needs.
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