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Media release 13th December 2023

Womens Refuge prepares for increase in need over the holidays

While it is a time of joy for many, Women’s Refuges across the country are preparing for the inevitable increase in need for assistance that comes with holidays.

Dr Ang Jury ONZM, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge:

“Once again, this year has meant assisting thousands of women and children who are too unsafe to stay at home due to family violence. While we might all like to think that the holidays will be a time when people come together to share good times with the people they love, sadly our experience tells us otherwise.”

“We would like to think the holidays are a time where everyone can be kind to each other, however the reality is very frightening for many women and children across Aotearoa.”

“In recognition of this, Advocates will be working around the clock to make sure no-one is left needing support and safety over the holidays. We encourage anyone who is scared, unsure, or just has a question to please contact us.”

Last year, Women’s Refuge supported 4,905 women and children who reached out for assistance in December and January and unfortunately this number is expected to grow.

“With the current financial pressures creating additional stress, alongside spending weeks on end in close proximity to each other, in homes that are already unsafe, we fully expect these already unacceptable numbers to be higher this year.”

Women’s Refuge has also identified that needs of clients have expanded due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“We know we will need to provide support beyond what we have seen in the past. Women and children are needing to stay with us longer and are requiring more support around basics like food, clothing, and other essentials for an extended period.”

Women’s Refuge is asking generous New Zealanders that are in the position to do so to please help this December.

“We know a lot of New Zealanders are struggling this year, but if you are in a position to help, we would be so grateful to anyone who can donate, purchase a Safe Night, or drop off a gift at their local Warehouse store.”

Women’s Refuge partner Contact Energy has kicked off the campaign donating $50,000 or 2,500 Safe Nights.

“We are so thankful to Contact Energy and all of those generous New Zealanders who have already donated. This type of support means all the difference to women and tamariki who are in crisis.”

Notes to Editor


Ways to support

Share your birthday

This year Women’s Refuge marked 50 years of providing assistance to women and children experiencing violence. To celebrate Women’s Refuge are calling on December and January babies to share their birthday with Women’s Refuge, as part of their Summer Appeal.
The campaign will let Kiwis give Safe Nights as birthday presents, over the festive period. More information can be found here.

Donate funds or goods

Donate at or find a list of local refuges here to donate food and other essentials

Partnership with Contact Energy

Contact provided $374,938 worth of free electricity and broadband to Women’s Refuge’s 70 refuges and safe houses between January 2022 and October 2023.

A link to the video where Dr Ang Jury discusses 50 years of Women’s Refuge and the partnership can be found here

New Zealand’s family violence statistics

• On average, 50,000 women and children are referred to Women’s Refuge each year.
• On average Women’s Refuge answers 71 crisis calls per day.
• New Zealand has the highest rates of family violence in the OECD.
• 1 in 3 women will experience abuse in their lifetime in Aotearoa.
• Nearly half of all homicides and reported violent crimes are related to family violence.
• Around 67% of family violence episodes go unreported.


Media Enquiries:
Susan Barker
Communications, Marketing and Fundraising Manager
027 403 5155