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Burn-Out and Soaring Workloads



Burn-Out and Soaring Workloads

Women’s Refuges are heading into the holiday season with staff reporting near burn-out and major increases in their workloads.

The latest statistics from Refuges represented by the National Collective of Independent Refuges (NCIWR) show a continued demand much greater than the funding provided to meet it.

The quarterly report (1 July-30 September) shows more than 14-thousand crisis calls were taken in just three months (the previous quarter also recorded around 14-thousand calls). Refuge is funded to take just 20-thousand calls for the entire year under its contract with Child Youth and Family.

In the same three months, the crisis accommodation provided was over half the amount contracted for with CYF for the entire year.

Women’s Refuge Chief Executive, Heather Henare, says the sheer volume of the work is leaving many staff and volunteers exhausted, and the final quarter of the year is expected to be even busier.

“The feedback from some of the Refuges really gives an indication of the huge workload they’re struggling with trying to help women and children.”

“I’ve had staff in Refuges talking about how they are close to burn out, with some trying to cope with double the workload they had a year ago.”

“In the last three months of last year more than ten thousand women and children were referred to our services, so I can only imagine that will grow again.”

“Clearly more people are starting to do something about domestic violence, and the police are also reporting their own work has increased as a result of the It’s Not OK campaign.”

Ms Henare says Women’s Refuge has put in a significant claim to the Ministry of Social Development to help cope with the work levels being faced.

The claim has been made under the five-million dollar Campaign Response Fund, with applications being considered this week.

“Our funding has consistently been way behind the ball in terms of actual demand for our services, so we hope at least this process brings some degree of respite for Refuges.”


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