The gift of your time and skills is one of the most valuable ways you can help us.

The majority of our workforce is voluntary, assisting thousands of families every year break the cycle of violence.

There are many ways you can help support our work. You can train to be a Women’s Refuge advocate and work directly with female, youth and child victims of domestic violence; help collect donations in our street appeals that raise the funds vital for the survival of your local refuge; or help your local refuge with varied tasks like collecting furniture and clothing from members of the public, cleaning or gardening.

What work would I be doing?

Becoming a Women’s Refuge advocate involves supporting women to empower themselves, and working collectively to promote safety and non-violence for women and children in their communities and hapū.

As a volunteer you will provide support, advocacy and information for women and children experiencing domestic violence. You will principally be offering phone support through our 24-hour Crisisline, helping to staff our primary and most important service. The Crisisline calls from women in your area are diverted to your home or cellphone during your shift.

You may also need to collect a woman – and children if she has them – to admit them to your local safe house. You would always be supported by a staff member or police escort.

You may also be helping undertake political work and education in your community.

What does the training involve?

We provide a full initial training course for all new volunteers, plus ongoing training, support and supervision once you start work. Training takes about 60 hours of your time, and is free.

You will be fully trained to provide non-judgemental support and advocacy for women and children of different cultures, backgrounds, sexual identities, socio-economic groups, and abilities. You will be equipped with all the skills and knowledge needed for basic support work at Women's Refuge.

Training is a powerful learning experience: we explore political ideas, identity, and issues around domestic violence while working as a group in a warm, welcoming training space. Please contact your local refuge to find out more, or the dates of its next training course.

How often would you need me?

Volunteers are asked to commit to a certain number of shifts, depending on your location in New Zealand. The hours are flexible.

What skills do I need?

We need people who are: 

  • able to listen
  • non-judgmental
  • keen to learn
  • supportive of women and children's rights
  • able to commit their time regularly.

How do I volunteer to help collect during your next street appeal?

We always need people to help us collect donations on the street during our national annual appeals. The funds raised go to help your local Women’s Refuge, directly benefiting your community. You can also take a collection box to your workplace. Please contact your local refuge to volunteer.

“I have learnt so much from my time at Women's Refuge. I completed their training and have worked answering calls after- hours, and done some weekend call-outs. It stimulated me into thinking I could be a social worker, and last year I graduated with a degree. The friendships I have made through Women's Refuge are some of the strongest I have.“A Women’s Refuge volunteer advocate in Auckland

“For me, volunteering for Women’s Refuge was a great decision. The training was amazing and though we were at differing stages of understanding I reckon we all learnt heaps and had a lot of fun. We are now all good friends and we trust each other to make safe, sensible decisions. I have heaps of support from the other volunteers as well as from the paid workers. I really enjoy sharing stories of our varied and wonderful Crisisline callers. Of course, there are moments when you feel upset, but these are outweighed by the times you know you have helped women to make positive life moves, to escape domestic violence, and to create beautiful families. I really believe I am doing something valuable for the women and children of Aotearoa.”A Women’s Refuge volunteer advocate in Wellington

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