Women's Refuge sees spike in people needing help amid lockdown

The Women’s Refuge says they’ve seen a surge in demand for help, with over 60 per cent of refuges around the country reporting an increase in demand. 

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This week, former Police Commissioner Mike Bush confirmed the rise in domestic violence and believed it did appear to correlate with the nationwide lockdown. 

Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury says the four-week lockdown has left many women, both current and past clients, feeling more vulnerable. 

Domestic violence on the rise in Kiwi homes as coronavirus lockdown has unintended consequences

However, due to the risk the coronavirus pandemic brings, the Refuge is having to look at alternative ways to offer care to those in need.

“We are facing many extra costs, including accommodation and food. Currently 50 per cent of Refuges are utilising motels and we believe this number will inevitably increase as the lockdown progresses.”

While some refuges are showing smaller amounts of calls, Dr Jury says this doesn’t mean there are less people in need of help. 

“At the moment, in some areas, crisis staff are working extra hours to meet demand while others are reporting a decrease at times - possibly due to the proximity of the abuser preventing a call for help.” 

She says a rise in domestic violence amid the pandemic appears to be an international concern as family violence advocates and police are reporting a spike in women needing help around the world.