Disability is a complex issue – someone’s experiences of disability may be obvious, or may be hidden.

We endeavour to help all women, no matter their needs. We are especially aware that women with disabilities are vulnerable to abuse..

A helpful booklet called Domestic Violence and Disabled People was released in 2011 that looks at the issues around domestic violence and disabled women in New Zealand. At the launch, the Minister of Women’s Affairs noted that, “International research shows that women with disabilities are much more likely to suffer from domestic violence than other women”.

Women with disabilities who suffer from domestic violence may find it more difficult to access pathways for help. Domestic Violence and Disabled People lists the following reasons why a person who experiences disability may find it extra difficult to talk about abuse:

  • fear of losing a caregiver
  • fear of being institutionalised
  • being unable to communicate without help or technological aids
  • being unable to access support in mainstream ways
  • social isolation
  • lack of access to transport.

Lack of awareness is another factor, as people often don’t believe that abuse happens to disabled people. Women’s Refuge will believe you, and we can offer you advice on the services we are able to provide, and/or advice on other agencies that may be able to assist you.

Please contact us anytime – we are always here to help.

How women with deafness, hearing-impairment, deaf-blindness, or speech-impairment can contact us

We welcome your contact, and here are three suggested options for you:

  1. Get help online

Please note this is a service for non-urgent queries, but we will reply to you as soon as possible. Simply fill out our online help form.

  1. Use the NZ Relay service

New Zealand Relay is a service in which a relay assistant serves as the ‘ears and voice’ on phone calls between a deaf, hearing-impaired, deaf-blind, or speech-impaired user and a hearing party. The assistant speaks words typed by a deaf user on a textphone (TTY) or via the Internet, and relays the hearing person’s spoken response by typing back to the NZ Relay user. Local and national calls are free of charge, such as to our Crisisline at 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843. NZ Relay operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  1. Get assistance from someone you trust

If you feel unable to use the NZ Relay service or an interpreter to assist you, you can ask someone who you consider to be safe to contact us on your behalf.