Domestic violence advocacy service Shine has today launched a new service which can help victims of domestic violence get help in a discreet way.
The service's website, 2shine.co.nz, will from today feature an online chat service which will be answered by an experienced family violence worker.
The service will be available from 9am to 11pm every day.
Shine policy adviser Holly Carrington said the Covid-19 lockdowns had highlighted the restricted and often fearful conditions of living with an abusive partner.
"One woman sent a message to Shine via Messenger to say she couldn’t speak as her partner was in the next room," Carrington said.
"Shortly afterwards, another message appeared saying everything was okay - it turned out it was her partner who had written the second message.
'This is a pattern we have seen repeated over our many years in operation and it was exacerbated during lockdown.
"Many women felt trapped and unable to call or even text."
A spokesperson for Shine said the new chat service would not display chat history if the window was closed then opened again - but noted that web history of accessing the Shine site could be visible unless the history and cache are cleared.
Another tool being highlighted today, on International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, is Shielded Site - a small button on major websites which allows domestic violence victims to get help completely anonymously.
Shielded Site is power by Women's Refuge, and appears as a small green button of a computer on websites including ASB, Z Energy, Sorted, Stats NZ, Countdown, Trade Me, The Warehouse, Stuff, Mighty Ape, Briscoes, Harvey Norman and many more.
Clicking the Shielded Site icon brings up a small popup which has a range of options for victims, including accessing support, getting advice on getting out of their relationship and making a plan to leave.
Once the Shielded Site window is closed, no record of the visit is left on the victim's device.
The icon appears in different places on different sites.