Be a Shero!

What is a Shero?

A hero/heroine is someone who fights for human rights in general. Expanding on general “heroism”, a Shero is a woman or a man who stands up specifically for female rights. In order to be considered as a Shero, one must DO something to help the women’s cause, or be a historical figure who was unconventional in their thinking for that time of what females can do.

Women's Refuge needs Shero's

Women’s Refuge invites YOU to become the Shero you’ve always wanted to be. You don’t need super powers, just super skills to help other women and people in your community.

  • Be a super listener – hear your friends’ problems
  • Have super knowledge – learn how violence can creep into relationships
  • Do super things – help your mates be strong and courageous
  • Take Action – Become a Shero by reading our Super Information Pack
  • Be super vigilant – learn the 10 most dangerous signs of a violent relationship stated below

The 10 Danger signs of a Violent Relationship

Watch out for these 10 Danger signs of a violent relationship. Any one of these behaviours is disturbing and should be a warning to you, or your friend, to seek immediate safety advice.
  1. He wants to know where she is, what she is doing and who she is with.
  2. He monitors her calls, texts and emails, checks receipts and car mileage
  3. He controls her life and her choices even if no physical violence has taken place
  4. He isolates her from her family and friends and/or displays jealous and possessive behaviour
  5. He forces her to have sex, watch porn, or do things she doesn’t want to do
  6. He threatens or physically harms her, the children or other family members
  7. He has harmed animals as part of the abuse in the relationship
  8. He has used a weapon, like a knife or firearm to hurt or threaten her
  9. He has threatened to kill her, the children or himself if she leaves
  10. He has tried to strangle her (this included any kind of hold to the throat)
Don’t forget, a dangerous time for a women’s safety is when she is thinking about or preparing to leave the relationship or at a time when the perpetrator realises that she is not going to return.

Key advice for supporting someone who is experiencing domestic violence

  • take all violence seriously
  • listen to her story and do not judge her in any way
  • be available to help her when she needs you and keep her information private and confidential
  • don’t force her into making decisions she is not in control of
  • suggest to her and/or support her if she wants to talk to a refuge advocate, access a safe house or contact any agency specialising in domestic violence
  • help her find the ‘making a safety plan’ advice on the Women’s Refuge website
  • tell a friend when preparing to leave a violent relationship to keep her plans secret from the perpetrator

How a Shero can help a friend affected by domestic violence? 

Sometimes, when you are worried about a friend you know the problem will work itself out. When it come to domestic violence this is very unlikely. Violence and abuse in relationships usually continues and often gets worse over time if no action is taken to stop it. You can help your friend by being honest about your concerns. Say something. Things that might be keeping you from saying something:Click to Zoom

  • The violence can’t really be that serious. Domestic violence includes threats, pushing, punching, slapping, choking, sexual assault,  and assault with weapons. It is rarely a one-time occurrence and usually escalates in frequency and severity. Even if the violence is ‘only’ verbal,   it can seriously affect your friend’s health and well-being, so any act of violence is something   to take seriously.
  • If it’s so bad, why doesn’t she just leave? For most of us, a decision to end a relationship isn’t easy. Your friend’s emotional ties to her partner may be strong, supporting the hope that the violence will end. Perhaps she doesn’t know about available resources, or maybe social and justice systems may have been unhelpful in the past. Perhaps when your friend has tried to end the relationship in the past, her partner may have used violence to stop her. These are just some of the many compelling reasons that may keep someone in an abusive relationship.
  • I shouldn’t get involved in a private matter. Domestic violence is not a ‘personal problem’. It is a crime with serious repercussions for your friend, your friend’s partner, their whanau, and your entire community.
  • If my friend wanted my help, s/he would ask for it. Your friend may not feel comfortable confiding in you, feeling you may not understand her situation. Talk to her about the abusive behaviours you have noticed, tell your friend no one deserves to be treated in that way, and ask her how you can help.

What You Can Do to Help ?

  • Say something. Lend a listening ear. Tell your friend that you care and are willing to listen. Don’t force the issue, but allow your friend to confide in you at her own pace. Never blame your friend for what is happening or underestimate her fear of potential danger. Focus on supporting your friend’s right to make her own decisions.
  • Become informed. Find out all the facts you can about domestic violence. Read up on this website, or call 0800REFUGE to talk to one of our advocates about what services are available for your friend.
  • Guide your friend to community services. If your friend asks for advice on what she should do, share the information you’ve learned. Let your friend know she is not alone and Women’s Refuge is available to help. Encourage her to seek the assistance of one of our advocates. Assure her that they will keep information confidential.
  • If your friend decides to end the relationship. Our advocates can help her look at her options and make a plan to be as safe as possible. Victims of domestic violence may face greater risk when they try to end the abusive relationship. If the abusive person feels they have lost control, they may become very dangerous.
  • Focus on her strengths. Your friend has probably continually been told by the abusive person that she is a bad person, and may believe s/he can’t do anything right and that there really is something wrong with her/him. Give her/him emotional support. Help her examine her strengths and skills. Emphasize that s/he deserves a life that is free from violence.

How Shero’s can care about their communities?

Shero’s actively care about the people around them, and want our country to be a happy and safe place for all New Zealanders. There are so many ways a Shero can get involved-

Giving a financial gift

There are so many good causes out there, and we know it’s hard to choose who to donate to. Please choose to help us to change lives. By donating money to Women’s Refuge New Zealand you can help us in our important work to end domestic violence towards women and children. Ways you can help include:

Spreading the word

You don't have to become a refuge worker to make a difference. We need passionate people to spread awareness about domestic violence, and then raise money to solve it. So roll up your sleeves and use that computer you're sitting in front of. It’s your most powerful tool.

  • Like our Facebook pages and share them with your friends - WomensRefugeNZ 
  • Sign up using for Manu KĊrero our email newsletter and forward it to your friends. Please find the sign up form on the right hand side column of this page. Print each issue out and put them in your staff lunchroom where it will get read.
  • Have one of our Refuge Workers come and speak about our work at your school, university or workplace (contact your nearest refuge).
  • Print out our Shero poster and 10 Danger signs (PDF)
    for your workplace, school, community centre or Uni.


Fundraising can be fun, especially when you get your friends and family involved. From small initiatives like cake stalls to huge challenges like being sponsored to take part in a national sports event (e.g. everydayhero, we can help you to make it happen! Please email us on if you have an idea to raise the money that keeps Women’s Refuge afloat.

  • Shake a bucket! It’s always hard to find collectors for our July Street Appeal. If you can spare an hour to smile and hold a collection bucket we want to hear from you!
  • Get involved with your own Shero Challenge fundraising activites
  • At work, school or Uni, you could host mini-fundraisers throughout the year to reach a fantastic fundraising goal.

Opening doors

Help us to get our foot in the door with companies who could support us. Can you tell us about a business or organisation that might partner with us?

  • Could your payroll department circulate information about payroll giving?
  • Do you know of a company who might consider sponsoring us?
  • How about ‘in-kind’ support? Free products that could be useful to our refuges and the women and children staying in them?

Download the Shero Poster (PDF)  

Download the Shero Challenge (PDF)