BNZ is encouraging New Zealanders to say no to violence against women and support the Love Grace New Zealand Handbag Appeal that launched this week.
Running from today until Monday 8 March, the appeal remembers Grace Millane who was tragically killed two years ago on the eve of her 22nd birthday, her young life cut short at the hands of a stranger.
The appeal asks for donations of handbags filled with toiletries, luxury items and other essentials to be dropped at BNZ branches around the country. These will then be provided to Women's Refuge New Zealand who will use the items to help support women fleeing violent situations and in need of a safer future.
BNZ CEO Angie Mentis says, “Grace’s tragic death shocked us all and equally we should be shocked at the violence against women that happens in New Zealand every day. It’s on all of us to remember Grace, support those in vulnerable situations and to say no to violence against all women.
“We jumped at the chance to support the Love Grace Handbag Appeal when it first launched and continue to support this worthy cause as we want to do what we can to support women into better situations,” she says.
All BNZ branches under level 2 can accept handbag donations provided people maintain social distancing and preferably wear a mask. Under level 3, Auckland branches are closed until further notice, but Angie Mentis says, “For Aucklanders wanting to support the Love Grace appeal, hold onto those bags for now and we look forward to receiving the donations when level 3 is over.”
Last year BNZ launched a domestic and economic abuse team that works with other expert support organisations to help better support customers in abusive relationships.
Angie says, “People in these situations are extremely vulnerable, their lives are turned upside down, and all the things many others rely on like their family, jobs, friends as well as access to the basics like food, shelter, and their money, may be being impacted.
“Women fleeing violent situations are isolated and have complex needs. Handbags of toiletries and other essential items are vital as is support to set up bank accounts and have access to emergency funds, and our team is there to work with other support organisations and help them get what they need as quickly and easily as possible,” she says.
Where to go for help:
- It’s Not Okay: 0800 456 450 or www.areyouok.org.nz
- Women’s Refuge – 0800 REFUGE (733 843) or www.womensrefuge.co.nz
- Shine – 0508 744 633 or www.2shine.org.nz
- Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children – 0800 742 584 or www.shaktiinternational.org
- If you’re in danger now, dial 111. If you’re unable to speak, press 55 to go through to the Police.