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Contact Marks 50 Years Of Women’s Refuge By Bolstering Support For Those Experiencing Family Violence

Contact Energy (Contact) has bolstered its support of Women’s Refuge, building on its long-term partnership with the social service organisation that on average assists 50,000 women and children escaping family violence in New Zealand each year.

This month sees 50 years of Women’s Refuge in Aotearoa New Zealand. To mark this, Contact has gifted $50,000 which will provide 2,500 Safe Nights to provide women and their children with a clean bed, hot meals, transport, and support. This brings the total amount of Safe Nights that Contact has donated to more than 25,000 since its partnership began with Women’s Refuge in July 2022.

Since announcing its commitment to help those experiencing family violence in New Zealand, Contact has also:

  • gifted almost $375,0001 of electricity and broadband to Women’s Refuge’s 70 refuges and safe houses across Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • collaborated with Women’s Refuge on a first of its kind research programme to build a deeper understanding of family violence from survivors to provide a robust evidence base for stronger, safer family violence practices, legislation and systems.
  • enabled Women’s Refuge clients to set up electricity accounts regardless of their credit history.
  • ‘shielded’ its website to allow women to access information about how they can get help, without leaving a trail for an abusive partner to see.

“Kiwi homes should be warm, connected and most importantly safe. Through our long-standing partnership with Women's Refuge, we recognise that this is not a reality for all whānau in New Zealand,” says Contact’s CEO Mike Fuge. “Our support for Women’s Refuge means they can focus on their core services without having to worry about how they'll keep the lights on or their safe houses warm.”

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In this video Women’s Refuge CEO Dr Ang Jury talks about 50 years of Women’s Refuge in Aotearoa New Zealand, and how its partnership with Contact has helped women and children escaping family violence.

Dr Ang Jury, CEO of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, says the money Women’s Refuge saved on power and internet has been redirected to crucial necessities and various initiatives.

“As well as food and clothing, this money has paid for transportation, learning and sports programmes, and has helped women to get their driving licences, amongst other things,” explains Dr Ang Jury. “The savings also enabled one refuge to invest in a child advocate to provide dedicated support to tamariki to give them a voice. This would not have been possible without Contact’s help.”

Dr Ang Jury says when Women’s Refuge first started family violence was seen as a private issue. Now it is seen as a problem that destroys thousands of lives and costs New Zealand billions of dollars every year.

“It’s not a problem that will be fixed overnight, but it starts with thinking differently about family violence and acknowledging that it affects everyone,” says Dr Ang Jury. “You don’t have to look far in your immediate circle to find someone who is impacted.

“For the past 50 years we have worked to provide women and children with hope. To reassure them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, rather than a train coming for them. It’s my hope that in the next 50 years every woman and child in Aotearoa will live a violence free life.”

Women's Refuge is calling on December and January babies to share their birthday with Women's Refuge, as part of its Summer Appeal. The campaign will let Kiwis give Safe Nights as birthday presents, over the festive period. More information can be found at https://safenight.nz/.

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