The Women’s Refuge training unit Te Kōwhai New Zealand Family Violence Training & Research Institute was established to meet the need for quality information and training about domestic violence in New Zealand. We were the pioneers in designing and developing training and education programmes on the issue in the early 1980s.

Educating people about domestic violence

Since then, we have been delivering a range of training and education programmes to government agencies, organisations, professionals, businesses, women, children and families. We have over 40 years’ experience working in the field of domestic violence.

In addition to our day to day services, many refuges have different programmes that are offered to members of the public around awareness and response to domestic violence.  If you would like to know more about group training please contact your local refuge, or NCIWR at info@refuge.org.nz

A number of our programmes have been delivered to communities, businesses, non-government and government organisations that work with family violence, helping them to learn more about the dynamics of domestic violence, the change cycle women go through during this process, and the safety of women and children who leave violent relationships.  Examples of some organisations we have delivered this training to includes:

  • Work and Income New Zealand staff nationwide
  • 0800 ‘It’s Not Okay’ telephone operators
  • New Zealand Police
  • Department of Health
  • Child, Youth & Family
  • The Body Shop
  • Hesketh Henry.

These education programmes build strong relationships between government departments and Women’s Refuge, and provide an essential role in educating the public about the impact of domestic violence and how we can all work together to keep women and children safe.

Publications for purchase

We have a wide range of practical guides, resources, kits and pamphlets with information for New Zealand women experiencing abuse, as well as support people, community workers and those working in the area of family violence. We can also provide posters and resources for schools, waiting rooms and offices. Please contact us on orders@refuge.org.nz for more information.

International training

In 2010, Women’s Refuge was contracted to deliver domestic violence training to government and non-government organisations from Tonga and Kiribati. We utilised our strong nationwide network of local Women’s Refuge trainers from throughout Aotearoa to be part of the training delivery. These trainers have a vast amount of local information, as well as their professional knowledge about domestic violence.

Find a training programme for you

Women’s Refuge has trainers throughout Aotearoa that can provide the right training to your organisation, within your own community. We can deliver a suite of domestic violence awareness workshops for all sectors of society; and we may be able to customise our training to meet your specific requirements.

Choose from these comprehensive training programmes:

This is a basic introduction to the effects and impacts of domestic violence, providing anyone working in the area with a basic understanding and tools to respond effectively

Duration: 1 day
Suitable for: Professionals, community workers, teachers, health workers and anyone working with women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

Topics include:

  • an overview of the dynamics of domestic violence
  • different forms of domestic violence and how it affects women
  • why women may remain or return to violent relationships
  • statistics
  • safety planning
  • legislation
  • referrals to and the role of Women’s Refuge.

Participants will:

  • Have an increased understanding of domestic violence and how it affects family members
  • Be confident to discuss domestic violence with colleagues and clients
  • Be able to respond appropriately to a disclosure of domestic violence
  • Have an awareness of the legislative framework surrounding domestic violence.

Not all refuges currently provide this training, however NCIWR delivers this training on request. Women’s Refuges do offer volunteer and community training and these courses are highly respected. Please contact your nearest Women’s Refuge if you would like this training.

Duration: 2 days
Suitable for: Refuges, health professionals, children’s organisations, schools, police, social workers, community workers and non-government organisations working with children affected by domestic violence.

Children experiencing or witnessing domestic violence require informed advocates who can:

  • actively give support
  • speak up or act on the child’s behalf
  • seek information from other professionals
  • educate others on the protection of the child
  • have an awareness of how domestic violence affects children and the unborn child
  • identify gaps and barriers for the protection and wellbeing of the child
  • listen to the child and hearing their voice.

This two-day workshop will introduce you to these skills, and each participant will receive a Mokopuna: Child Advocate Toolkit.

Participants will:

  • Have awareness about how domestic violence affects children
  • Be able to respond appropriately to a disclosure by a child
  • Have an awareness of the legislative framework surrounding domestic violence and children
  • Be confident in risk assessments, writing case-notes, observation skills and mandated obligations.

Women’s Refuges do offer volunteer and community training and these courses are highly respected. Please contact your nearest Women’s Refuge if you would like this training.

Duration: 60 hours class time and six-month work placement
Suitable for: Refuge staff, volunteers, collectives and board members.

Women’s Refuges have provided services for women and children for over 35 years, making us the most experienced national organisation working in the field of domestic violence. Using this experience Women’s Refuge has developed an advocate training programme that meets the current best practice and standards. This training forms the fundamental basis for anyone wanting to volunteer or work for Women’s Refuge

The programme content comprises:

  • domestic violence analysis
  • Women’s Refuge structure and values
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • homophobia and heterosexism
  • working with women and children
  • rape and sexual abuse
  • what is advocacy?
  • self-care
  • working in Women’s Refuge
  • domestic violence legislation.

Contact your local refuge for more information or to apply.

Duration: 2.5 hrs sessions per week over 10 weeks
Suitable for: Women who have experienced domestic violence. This programme is provided at most refuges for women who use our service.

The objectives of the programme are to empower women; to successfully prevent and avoid any likely harm to themselves and their children resulting from their experience of domestic violence; and to assist in removing barriers resulting from the abuse. The programme is delivered in a culturally appropriate way.

The programme will:

  • assist the women’s understanding of the affects of domestic violence
  • help the women to understand the history of domestic violence
  • strengthen their self-esteem
  • help the women to develop safety plans and support networks in their community
  • inform women on domestic violence legislation
  • allow women to tell their stories in a safe environment
  • allow women to begin their healing journey.

Contact your local refuge for more information or to apply.

Duration: 1.5 hour sessions per week for 10 weeks of the school term
Suitable for: Children aged five to 12 witnessing or experiencing domestic violence in their homes. This programme is provided at most refuges for children whose mothers are using our service.

The objectives of this programme are:

  • to successfully prevent and avoid any likely harm to a child resulting from their experience of domestic violence
  • to deliver the service in a culturally appropriate way
  • to involve primary caregivers so that there is a transfer of learning to the home environment
  • to assist in removing barriers to the child’s development resulting from the abuse.

The programme will:

  • assist the child’s understanding around what has happened
  • help the child understand why they are not to blame
  • strengthen their self-esteem
  • help the child develop safety plans and support networks
  • assist the child to build positive relationships and learn non-violent methods of conflict resolution.

Contact your local refuge for more information or to apply.

This is a workshop for people to understand the dynamics and fundamentals of inequality and equality, and how these can manifest in relationships (both healthy and unhealthy), and learn skills to navigate relationships in a respectful way to avoid abuse. The workshop is made up interactive exercises and discussions that examine topics such as understanding wider inequality & privilege, gender inequality, violence against women, how we talk about women and objectification, as well as equity and communication.

Duration: One day (6 hours)
Suitable for: Youth, Mixed groups

The aim is to improve how we think and talk about each other, minimise objectification and to offer people ideas and advice on how they can have meaningful equal and positive relationships (both platonic and intimate). While we do have a focus on making the connection from platonic to intimate partner relationships, the programme will not include a sexuality aspect, but will focus on the fundamentals of healthy relationships and equality. This means that we can provide a workshop for anyone interested in healthy relationships, as well as run mixed gendered groups without crossing cultural or religious boundaries.

We believe that everyone in Aotearoa deserves to have a respectful and healthy relationship. We can do this by empowering and enhancing young people by giving them the tools to navigate and confidently practice respectful equal relationships.

Make a booking

Please fill out the online form below and we will contact you with more information about the next available training dates, venue, and cost. Thank you for your interest.

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