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Chief Victims Advisor To Government: Support Available For Victims During Lockdown

New Zealand’s Chief Victims Advisor to Government, Dr Kim McGregor, wants victims and survivors of family violence and sexual violence to know that the Police and social services are there to help them even through this period of lockdown.

“My message for all New Zealanders: You are not alone. It’s not ok for anyone to hurt you. Violence is still a crime,” says Dr McGregor.

If you are in immediate danger or someone you know is, when it is safe to do so, call the Police on 111, even if you are not totally sure harm is occurring. If it’s not safe for you to speak, call 111, stay silent and push 55. Police will then understand silence to be an alert.

“Even though we are currently in self-isolation, we still want to hear from you if you, or someone in your bubble is being hurt.”

If you are a victim of family violence, sexual violence or there is someone that makes you fearful, threatens or harasses you, seek help as soon as possible. You have the right to be safe.

“Many people and families will be experiencing more stress in their homes during this time of isolation, so it’s essential people know they can seek help.

“Government agencies and support organisations remain staffed and are determined to help anyone who is experiencing violence. These are essential services.

“If you are being harmed, there are a range of social services with national help lines available to talk to you, as well as offer practical support and access to safe, emergency accommodation if you need it.

“Leaving your home to get yourself and/or others to safety is considered an essential form of travel and you will not be in breach of the level 4 restrictions if you leave your neighbourhood for these reasons.

“Sometimes it is unsafe for you to reach out for help while you are in the same space as the person who is hurting you. If you can’t communicate safely through phone, text, email or social media, maybe your friends, whānau or neighbours could help.

“Neighbours, please do your best to keep an eye on those around you and look for signs that someone may need help, such as if there are any sounds of violence, yelling, crying, family members looking afraid and withdrawn or someone in distress. But please also remember to maintain a safe distance and maintain your ‘bubble’ during this time.

“You can call the Police or social services even if you are not sure but are worried someone is being harmed. You can talk about any behaviours or signs of harm that concern you.

“If you’re worried about yourself or someone else being harmed:

  • Find a safe way to contact the Police or helplines listed below to get help for yourself or pass your concerns on about others. Your call about others may be the missing piece of information that helps the services know they need to act. Your actions could save lives.
  • Remember that help is available. If you or someone else is in danger, or you think someone could be harmed or may harm themselves, when it is safe to do so, call the Police on 111 (if you can’t speak dial 55), even if you’re not totally sure whether harm is occurring.

“These are tough times, and many New Zealanders who were facing difficult circumstances at home in the first place need our help to navigate these extraordinary times. This is the time for us to look after each other, be kind, and get through this together,” says Dr McGregor.

Contacts for COVID information

For everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place, please go to covid19.govt.nz

For advice about help and support available for victims of family violence or sexual violence during COVID-19, go to https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellbeing/family-and-sexual-violence-prevention/.

Finding a Local Support Service

Family Violence Services

  • Women's Refuge free call 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) - providing 24hr service advocacy and accommodation for women and their children experiencing family violence
  • Shine domestic abuse services free call 0508 744 633 (9am and 11pm) - if you’re experiencing domestic abuse or want to know how to help someone else
  • Family violence information line to find out about local services or how to help someone else 0800 456 450
  • Elder Abuse - 0800 EA NOT OK - 0800 32 668 65 (free and confidential) - 24hr service answered by registered nurses who can connect to local elder
  • Tu Wahine Trust – Call 09 838 8700 - for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau
  • Shakti – Call 0800 742 584 - https://shaktiinternational.org/shakati-new-zealand/ Shakti provides culturally competent support services for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin who have experienced domestic violence
  • Victim Support – 0800 842 846 (24hr service) for all victims of serious crime.

Sexual Violence Services

  • Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044334, text 4334 or email support@safetotalk.nz.
  • Rape Crisis – free call 0800 88 3300 for contact details of your local centre, provides support for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, their families, friends and whānau. https://wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz/
  • Male Survivors Aotearoa New Zealand – Call 0800 044 334 Offers one- to-one, peer and support groups for male survivors of sexual abuse and their significant others
  • Te Ohaakii a Hine National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together – For finding a sexual violence support services in your area http://toah-nnest.org.nz/index.php/get-help/find-help
  • Tu Wahine Trust – Call 09 838 8700 For kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau
  • ACC Sensitive Claims Unit – Call 0800 735 566 for access to services related to sexual abuse or sexual assault

Services for those who want help to stop harming

  • Hey Bro helpline 0800 HeyBro (0800 439 276) - 24/7 help for men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one or whānau member
  • Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044334, text 4334, email support@safetotalk.nz
  • Korowai Tumanako text or call 0224747044 Kaupapa Māori service. Support for concerning or harmful sexual behaviour
  • Stop - call 03 353 0257 for support for concerning or harmful sexual behaviour
  • Need to Talk? 1737 Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Youth Services

Support for Rainbow community/ LGBTQI+

  • OUTline NZ – Call OUTLINE or 0800 688 5463 - confidential telephone support for sexuality or gender identity issues
  • You, me, us - promoting healthy queer, trans and takatāpui relationships

Mental Health Services

  • Need to Talk? 1737 Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Lifeline– Call 0800 LIFELINE or 0800 543 354 or text 4357
  • Te Haika(external link) mental health crisis assessment team 0800 745 477
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline – Call 0800 787 797 phone or online chat for people dealing with an alcohol or other drug problem
  • Anxiety phone line - Call 0800 ANXIETY or 0800 269 4389
  • Depression Helpline – Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202
  • Supporting Families in Mental Illness – For families and whānau supporting a loved one who has a mental illness, there are regional contact numbers:
    • Northern Region: 0800 732 825
    • Central North Island: 0800 555 434
    • South Island: 0800 876 682

Call the Victims Information Line on 0800 650 654 or email to victimscentre@justice.govt.nz for information, advice and support for you and your family.

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