COVID-19 UPDATE

Women’s Refuge is an essential service and will remain operational during all alert levels.

Keep updated with the latest Covid-19 information here: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/

What if I feel unsafe?

  • If you or a family member are in immediate danger please call 111
  • Ring our crisis line on 0800 REFUGE (733843) to speak to your local refuge
  • Send us a Facebook message through Womens Refuge Facebook Page
  • Email us on info@refuge.org.nz
  • Send us a confidential webchat message through our Shielded Site feature without fear of it showing up in your browser’s history. Our shielded site is available to access information and advice discreetly. Find the Shield icon on some of New Zealand’s largest retail websites, such as The Warehouse, Trade Me, Stuff, Countdown Supermarkets and major banks.

Women’s Refuge is committed to providing a safe response during the Covid-19 pandemic and making staff and client
well-being the utmost priority.

We are working closely with Government and Police to ensure we can be there for women and children who need assistance during this time, however our services while include less face to face contact where possible. The pandemic response of social distancing and self-isolation may mean that women living with family violence are more at risk, which given trends in other countries is a scenario we are prepared for.

FAQS:

Can I still reach out to Women’s Refuge?

Yes. Women’s Refuge is an essential service and while our services may look different we are here for women and children experiencing family violence 24/7. We will be minimising face to face contact (telephone and online guidance will be used whenever possible) in order to keep everyone safe.

Can I still reach out to Women’s Refuge if I am unvaccinated? 

Yes. As we are an essential service, we do not decline services to any client, or make those services contingent on vaccine status.

What if someone becomes unwell in a safe house?

We have protocols in place to ensure that this is dealt with in accordance to Government guidelines. We are also utilising alternative accommodation options in order to maintain isolation procedures.

I’m an employer, how can I help employees that may be experiencing family violence?

There’s helpful information on Shine’s DV FREE website for employers and what they can do to keep their employees safe during lockdown: https://www.dvfree.org.nz/news/advice-for-nz-employers-during-lockdown/

What if I am worried about someone I know?

If you are concerned about somebody else, you can support them by keeping in touch with them. First and foremost be aware that during the lock-down period their conversations and activities may be monitored:

  • Agree on a ‘code word’ in advance with your friend. If they message you that word, you can call the police and ask them to check on them.
  • Ask them if they have the essential things they need (such as food, medication, and sanitary items) and help them to get them. Some abusive people will withhold these items.
  • Help them to feel less isolated by setting up regular times to talk to you and to others.
  • Encourage them to get in touch with Women’s Refuge if they feel unsafe.

What is Safety messages calling 111 and pushing 55?

In the event someone makes an emergency call and is unable to speak, a well-established process is in place.

  • When a 111 call is made and there is no speech a trained operator listens carefully for signs that someone is on the line but may not be able to speak (e.g noises of a disturbance, sounds of someone gurgling, a child etc). On hearing this the call is forwarded to Police.
  • If the call is silent and they cannot establish there is anyone on the line the following happens:
    1. From a mobile phone  – the operator will play a recorded message that asks the caller to dial 55 if they require assistance. This message is repeated twice. This call is then received by Police.
    2. From a landline –  the operator will ask for the caller to press any button. This is repeated twice. This is repeated again, if still no response, the call is terminated, and the 111 Operator calls the caller back to get a response to verify whether a service is required.

For more information visit the external Police website here.