Family violence up: agency

New Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge manager Simone Waring is expecting ...
Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge manager Simone Waring. PHOTOS: GREGOR RICHARDSON
There has been an increase in family violence during lockdown in Dunedin, and people in unsafe situations are being urged to seek support.

Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge manager Simone Waring said the organisation was experiencing both an increase in current whanau seeking support, and new people calling to find out what support they could get once lockdown ended.

They were bracing for a significant increase in demand when that happened, she said.

‘‘What we’re imagining is people are living under not only the normal stress of lockdown, but potentially there could be events occurring that are coming to a head.’’

It was also difficult to contact people in need, as they could not just call or email someone living in an unsafe situation.

‘‘A lot of covert kind of checking in happens.’’

She wanted people to know the organisation was still there, still working, and able to help if needed.

Senior Sergeant Mark Gill said there had been an increase in reported family harm incident during the lockdown, when compared week on week with the pre-lockdown period.

The increase was similar to that recorded during lockdown last year, he said.

Snr Sgt Gill said people should reach out to police for support if they were at risk or concerned someone else might be.

‘‘A reminder that people can leave their home if they are at risk of harm or feel unsafe and seek assistance from police, and support from Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke ki Otepoti who are continuing to work through Covid lockdown.’’

Launched in 2019, Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke is an initiative bringing together police, iwi and social agencies to provide support for those affected by family violence.


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