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A Troubling Trend of Brutal Violence says Women’s Refuge

Women’s Refuge Awareness and Appeal Month

Press Release Friday June 21st

A Troubling Trend of Brutal Violence says Women’s Refuge

Women’s Refuge has noticed a worrying increase in the number of particularly cruel and brutal incidents of domestic violence.

“I am deeply concerned to have brought to my attention a growing number of violent acts that are extraordinarily severe,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Heather Henare.

“Many of our Refuges are reporting this trend. The reasons for this increase are unclear but certainly the use of weapons such as knives and guns are commonly reported to me, alongside other hideous methods of abuse such as inflicting burns.”

She says Refuges are saying that more and more women who come to them are at high risk with complex issues to work through. “Many experience violence that is akin to torture and it takes significant skill and support to help them work through this abuse,” she says. “Our hope for each client revolves around restoring their well being which is of course underpinned by their safety. It just feels like very few days pass without another story of violence against a woman reported in the media.”

While announcing July as ‘Women’s Refuge Awareness and Appeal Month’, Ms Henare said Refuges will use the month to raise awareness about domestic violence, it’s prevention and how to respond to it. “We also need to raise money for the work we do as we respond to an average of one call every six minutes to our crisis line 0800 REFUGE,” she says.

‘Give her a voice and help her be heard’ is the catch-cry of the Women’s Refuge campaign. “Women tell us that words to threaten, coerce and control, hurt them as well as acts of economic, psychological, sexual and physical abuse,” says Ms Henare.

“But it is her words, her ability to tell people and be heard that we want to get across. Donations during our awareness and appeal month will go towards the costs of having hundreds of dedicated advocates available 24 hours a day to assist those women who find their voices.”

If people want to donate to Women’s Refuge visit www.womensrefuge.org.nz or call 0900 REFUGE to donate $10

For interviews contact Sue Lytollis 027 322 4688 sue@refuge.org.nz

To contact your local Women’s Refuge for comment please find contact information from www.womensrefuge.org.nz

Collectors will be out on the streets mainly from July 15 – 21st

Refuges have been encouraged to assist women who have survived domestic violence and who can be available to speak with media. Please ask your local refuge if you want to interview a survivor. You can approach Sue Lytollis for national Appeal spokeswomen as well.

If you want to position information alongside your media article, especially around awareness and information that can be life saving, please consider using the information below.

Suggested sidebar

Danger Signs of a violent relationship

• Constant monitoring and checking

• Being put down, told you are useless being criticised and blamed for everything

• Being threatened (includes children and animals) with cruelty and death

• Being hit, shaken, shoved, strangled, choked and slapped

• Forced to have sex

• Becoming isolated from friends and family

• Feel like she is walking on eggshells

How to talk to someone you are worried about

• Take all violence seriously, it is a crime

• Listen to your friend or family member

• Believe what they say

• Do not judge her

• Don’t force her into making decisions she is not in control of

• Help her find her voice by

Finding the safety plan on www.womensrefuge.org.nz

Calling 0800 REFUGE (733 843) helpers can also call this number

Let her know it is ok to ask for help again and again

If people want to give to Women’s Refuge they can call 0900 REFUGE for a $10 donation or www.womensrefuge.org.nz or Facebook APP for an online donation.

Statistics (valid for the year 1 July 2011 to 31 June 2012)

86,000 Calls to the 0800 REFUGE (733 843) Crisis lines which averages to one call every six minutes. We reached 25,000 women and children and on average 224 felt so unsafe in their homes they needed to stay in a Women’s Refuge Safe House every night. They stayed in the Safe House for an average of 20 days for a woman and 26 days for a child. The majority of women using Women’s Refuge services are under 36 years old, 57%. Of the children refuge deals with, 36% are under the age of five. Refuge crisis lines and general crisis and non-crisis services are provided by 1000 women, of which two thirds are volunteers.

Stop Press: This report released on June 20th is too much of a coincidence to not include in this Women’s Refuge NZ Press Release. For full information go to http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/index.html

WHO report highlights violence against women as a ‘global health problem of epidemic proportions’

New clinical and policy guidelines launched to guide health sector response

News release

20 June 2013 | Geneva - Physical or sexual violence is a public health problem that affects more than one third of all women globally, according to a new report released by WHO in partnership with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the South African Medical Research Council.

The report, Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence, represents the first systematic study of global data on the prevalence of violence against women – both by partners and non-partners. Some 35% of all women will experience either intimate partner or non-partner violence. The study finds that intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30% of women worldwide.

The study highlights the need for all sectors to engage in eliminating tolerance for violence against women and better support for women who experience it. New WHO guidelines, launched with the report, aim to help countries improve their health sector’s capacity to respond to violence against women.

Impact on physical and mental health

The report details the impact of violence on the physical and mental health of women and girls. This can range from broken bones to pregnancy-related complications, mental problems and impaired social functioning.

“These findings send a powerful message that violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO. “We also see that the world’s health systems can and must do more for women who experience violence.”

The report’s key findings on the health impacts of violence by an intimate partner were:

• Death and injury – The study found that globally, 38% of all women who were murdered were murdered by their intimate partners, and 42% of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner had experienced injuries as a result.

• Depression – Partner violence is a major contributor to women’s mental health problems, with women who have experienced partner violence being almost twice as likely to experience depression compared to women who have not experienced any violence.

• Alcohol use problems – Women experiencing intimate partner violence are almost twice as likely as other women to have alcohol-use problems.

• Sexually transmitted infections – Women who experience physical and/or sexual partner violence are 1.5 times more likely to acquire syphilis infection, chlamydia, or gonorrhoea. In some regions (including sub-Saharan Africa), they are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV.

• Unwanted pregnancy and abortion – Both partner violence and non-partner sexual violence are associated with unwanted pregnancy; the report found that women experiencing physical and/or sexual partner violence are twice as likely to have an abortion than women who do not experience this violence.

• Low birth-weight babies – Women who experience partner violence have a 16% greater chance of having a low birth-weight baby.

“This new data shows that violence against women is extremely common. We urgently need to invest in prevention to address the underlying causes of this global women’s health problem.” said Professor Charlotte Watts, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Need for better reporting and more attention to prevention

Fear of stigma prevents many women from reporting non-partner sexual violence. Other barriers to data collection include the fact that fewer countries collect this data than information about intimate partner violence, and that many surveys of this type of violence employ less sophisticated measurement approaches than those used in monitoring intimate partner violence.

“The review brings to light the lack of data on sexual violence by perpetrators other than partners, including in conflict-affected settings,” said Dr Naeemah Abrahams from the SAMRC. “We need more countries to measure sexual violence and to use the best survey instruments available.”

In spite of these obstacles, the review found that 7.2% of women globally had reported non-partner sexual violence. As a result of this violence, they were 2.3 times more likely to have alcohol disorders and 2.6 times more likely to suffer depression or anxiety – slightly more than women experiencing intimate partner violence.

The report calls for a major scaling up of global efforts to prevent all kinds of violence against women by addressing the social and cultural factors behind it.

Recommendations to the health sector

The report also emphasizes the urgent need for better care for women who have experienced violence. These women often seek health-care, without necessarily disclosing the cause of their injuries or ill-health.

“The report findings show that violence greatly increases women’s vulnerability to a range of short- and long-term health problems; it highlights the need for the health sector to take violence against women more seriously,” said Dr Claudia Garcia-Moreno of WHO. “In many cases this is because health workers simply do not know how to respond.”

New WHO clinical and policy guidelines released today aim to address this lack of knowledge. They stress the importance of training all levels of health workers to recognize when women may be at risk of partner violence and to know how to provide an appropriate response.

They also point out that some health-care settings, such as antenatal services and HIV testing, may provide opportunities to support survivors of violence, provided certain minimum requirements are met.

• Health providers have been trained how to ask about violence.

• Standard operating procedures are in place.

• Consultation takes place in a private setting.

• Confidentiality is guaranteed.

• A referral system is in place to ensure that women can access related services.

• In the case of sexual assault, health care settings must be equipped to provide the comprehensive response women need – to address both physical and mental health consequences.

The report’s authors stress the importance of using these guidelines to incorporate issues of violence into the medical and nursing curricula as well as during in-service training.

WHO will begin to work with countries in South-East Asia to implement the new recommendations at the end of June. The Organization will partner with ministries of health, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and sister United Nations agencies to disseminate the guidelines, and support their adaptation and use.


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