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Appeal to Support Essential Family Violence Services

Appeal to Support Essential Family Violence Services

This weekend over 130 volunteers will be showing their support for people living with and overcoming family violence by taking part in the annual Aviva street appeal.

Aviva (formerly Christchurch Women’s Refuge) and their supporters are out on the streets to raise part of the million dollars they must generate each year in order to provide frontline services to children, women and men living with family violence in Canterbury. This year money raised will go to services such as the 0800 AVIVA NOW phone line. This free support and information line has experienced huge increase in demand since the February 2011 earthquake, when calls increased by 50%; that elevated level of demand has been sustained ever since.

“The Support and Information Line is often the first step that many people take towards a violence-free future and it can be the first point of contact they have with us, or any support service” says Aviva Marketing and Funding Manager Julie McCloy. “Women and men who want to change their lives and those of their children for the better, or their family members, friends and colleagues all use this number to call us for support or advice, and approximately 30% of our clients refer themselves into our service through the 0800 line. It is an essential support service but one for which we receive no funding.”

In the last 12 months almost 3,200 calls for support have come through the 0800 AVIVA NOW (0800 28482 669) number. Family Support Workers answer the phone line during office hours and in the evening and weekends calls are answered by rostered staff who support Safe House clients. Through the 0800 number they provide support, information, education and appropriate referrals to Aviva’s and other agencies’ services.

“The 0800 number is a real lifeline for many people” says McCloy, “and it’s a safe way to reach out when people are unsure about their next step because calls can be anonymous. It’s so important that we offer this as a free service because for many people, the cost of what is often a lengthy call from a cell phone or rural area can be barrier to making that call. We choose to absorb those costs because the most important thing is to ensure that the support we can offer is accessible to everyone who might need it.”

It costs Aviva approximately $1.7 million to offer its current range of family violence services throughout Canterbury; only 40% of that is funded through government contracts and the remainder must be raised from other sources.

Aviva’s appeal details: Friday 16 and Saturday 17 May throughout Christchurch, Rangiora Kaiapoi, Amberley and Rolleston. Donate online at www.avivafamilies.org.nz

Contact Aviva by calling 0800 AVIVA NOW (0800 28482 669), free phone 24-hours a day.

About Aviva
• Aviva supports New Zealanders to become their best, free from family violence, by providing a unique range of specialist family violence services
• We support children, women and men – individually or as families - to overcome family violence
• We are an independent, local charity which was first established as Christchurch Women’s Refuge – New Zealand’s first women’s refuge – in 1973
• Aviva rebranded in May 2013. Our new name expresses the positivity, potential and new life that underpins the services we provide and the spirit in which we offer them.

Key Statistics for 1 April 2013 – 31 March 2014
• Total Clients – 1,486 children, women and men
• Calls to Support and Information Line – 3,193
• Residential clients – 98 (making safe 65 women and 33 children); average length of stay up from 16 nights in preceding 12 months to 23
• Shine safe@home clients – 128 households made more secure (making safe 128 adults and approximately 200 children)
• ReachOut men’s service – 100 men supported
• Specialist Peer support – 18 training graduates and 12 (including two men) currently completing training. Twelve women receiving ongoing support from trained Peer Support Specialists

How Aviva supports people to become free from violence:
• 24-hour support via 0800 AVIVA NOW, a free phone line for anyone needing safety, information or advice
• Access to temporary Safe House accommodation for children and women
• Individual support for children, women and men and access to other agencies or services as appropriate
• Family safety planning
• Access to Ministry of Justice approved education programmes for children, women and men
• Proactive outreach and support for women and men named on Police Incident Reports
• Shine safe@home, a service which improves the physical security of the homes of women and children who are at highest risk of repeat family violence
• ReachOut specialist early intervention support for men who have used family violence
• Specialist peer support from women and men who have overcome family violence to others on their own journey
• No Interest Loans for those experiencing family violence and on low incomes
• Community development, education and training.

ENDS

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