Women’s (and children’s) refuge

by Pete George

Dunedin Women’s Refuge has had one of it’s busiest years, partly due to the “It’s Not Ok” campaign, and due to increased stress, and alcohol and drug problems..

Refuge busy as ever in hard times

Residential services manager Darlene Gore said 202 women and children stayed at the refuge’s safe houses last year.

24 women and children stayed in the safe houses for the month from 18 December. One woman and three children arrived on Christmas Day.

“We would normally get half that over that four-week period,” Miss Gore said.

The economy, stress, and the Christchurch earthquakes are behind one of the busiest periods at Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women’s Refuge.

It’s bad that a service like this is necessary, it’s good that the refuge and support is available.

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence ring (03) 477 1229.

More information:

The refuge had the ODT visit one of their two safe houses to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions.

Women’s refuge: Inside a safe house

Kerri Oliver, of the refuge residential services, said ” Our stuff is not beautiful, but we look after it as best we can. We pride ourselves on having a clean, safe house,” she said.

“For us, it’s all about family. We need to make sure things are safe for everyone.”

Women, and their children, were brought to the safe house when a call was made to the refuge crisis line by either the woman herself, someone she knew, the police, emergency department or Child Youth and Family.

  • The woman would be met at a neutral location to be interviewed and then brought to the house.
  • On arrival, they were given food, enough for them to have before going to Work and Income for a food grant, a toiletry pack, pyjamas and clean underwear.
  • The women were made as comfortable as possible and lived their lives as normally as they could.
  • Women were offered access to counselling, support in allowing their partners to contact the children, and help in setting up new lives.

Refuge staff did not stay on site, but  visited as often as they could.

The refuge also ran domestic violence education programmes for women and children.

Note: this post is about Women’s Refuge awareness. Most often it is men inflicting violence on women and children in our society, but men are also victims of domestic violence. If information is available on support for men in this situation I’ll post it separately.

One Comment to “Women’s (and children’s) refuge”

  1. Hey this is really interesting Pete. I always wondered how they worked.

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