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Severity Of Family Violence On Rise As Recession Bites

Leading specialist family violence service Shine is seeing more severe and complex family violence cases as the recession and a shortage of rental accommodation limit the options people have to escape a violent partner.

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Shine is reporting a growing number of serious assaults with weapons (including knives and machetes) and strangulation that result in hospitalisations. Assaults occurring in front of children are also increasing, says Shine Senior Family Violence Advisor and Light It Orange spokesperson Rachel Kain.

Family violence cases are becoming more complex due poverty-related issues. Brain injuries, mental health challenges, addiction and debt play a part too.

“A shrinking pool of affordable rental and emergency accommodation means women often have nowhere to go when they are ready to leave refuge or their violent partner,” says Rachel Kain.

“If you’re thinking of leaving, it’s much harder if you have no spare money after the bills are paid. Leaving a warm and dry three-bedroom home for emergency accommodation and no money is a hard trade-off.”

Rachel Kain says these factors combine to create a situation that leaves women who have experienced family violence with fewer and fewer options.

On top of higher call and webchat volumes, Shine is receiving more calls from women and also from neighbours and support people calling about someone they are worried about.

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With the increase in migration, Shine has also seen a 50% increase in calls from immigrant women on visas from this time last year.

“We do what we can to help, although there is no funding for this support,” says Rachel Kain.

“Shine is doing some important work. Our advocates walk alongside their clients to help them achieve their goals. Everyone’s journey to safety and recovery is different.”

For Alex*, one of her goals was finding someone for her nine-year-old and 17-year-old sons to talk to about their father’s violent behaviour. Her Shine advocate referred her to the KIDshine service.

“They received incredible support. The younger one wanted to use his KIDshine sessions to focus on safety in the home. One of the first things they did was develop a safety plan that he put into action just a few weeks later when their father turned up unexpectedly. It was a practical tool that he could use every day to keep himself safe,” says Alex.

Her teenager wanted help with safety and relationships. He has a girlfriend and was worried that he’d turn out like his father.

“My 17-year-old said, “She just gets me, Mum”.

Year on year, the appalling rates of family violence in New Zealand increase . It is affecting multiple generations and is taking a huge annual toll on our community.

“We know that the true incidence of family violence in New Zealand is much higher because most of it goes unreported. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by New Zealand’s consistently high rates of family violence but it’s so important that we do what we can today to address this,” says Rachel Kain.

Shine is a charity and relies on donations to help provide its services. It is calling for public support this annual Light it Orange appeal week (10-16 June 2024) as demand upon its services increases. To donate, visit the Light it Orange website where you can also find some great ways to fundraise.

  • $30 can assist each family entering a Shine refuge with emergency essentials.
  • $65 can pay for one doctor visit for a woman staying in a Shine refuge.
  • $126 can pay for an emergency pack for mum and baby with essentials such as nappies, baby wipes, clothing and formula.
  • $250 can cover the cost of a crisis callout to a victim’s home in response to an urgent referral.
  • $300 can help two men make the first steps towards a life without abuse through joining Shine’s No Excuses Programme.
  • $1800 can provide the KIDshine service to help children of one family stay safe and heal.

*name changed to protect privacy.

© Scoop Media

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