Media Release 20 February 2023
Women’s Refuge Working to Ensure Safety of Clients While Preparing for Increase in Need
As many communities are coming to terms with the impacts of the cyclone, Women’s Refuge is working around the clock to ensure that clients are safe and supported while preparing for the increase in women and children who will require assistance in the coming weeks.
Dr Ang Jury ONZM, Chief Executive, Women’s Refuge says:
“We know this is an extremely difficult time for many whānau out there and the effects will be felt for a long time yet.”
“For our Refuges in affected regions, clients are and must be the top priority. In these devastating circumstances they will need help above and beyond what is usually required and our staff our working tirelessly to ensure services are operational while they deal with the effects on their own lives.”
There are no shortages of challenges on the ground, but as one Hastings Refuge Manager says, they’re tacking issues one step at a time, starting with the basics.
She says, “I have lived in Hawkes Bay most of my life, but I have never experienced anything like this. Our team is working hard on reaching out to our community clients. Not all areas have power yet, but this is improving so they will continue to reach out.”
“Our safe house has regained power over night, and we have been able to give out supplies such as kai, blankets, and clothing. Kai supply is an issue, and we are working on restocking our freezers. Petrol stations are under the pump, only allocating so much out to people, so travel is challenging and is something we will face for some time.”
Responding to comments made earlier today by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Dr Jury says increases in family harm incidents are expected.
“We are sad to hear Commissioner Coster’s comments. At the same time his words came as no surprise. Experience tells us that family violence rates and calls for help increase immediately following natural disasters of this kind, so we are anticipating more calls to our services in the days and weeks to come.”
“Many women may be feeling alone during this time and unsure if they can reach out. We really want to get the message out that we are here and ready to help. We are open and operational
including in regions affected by the cyclone. We strongly encourage anyone experiencing family violence to not hesitate to reach out through our website, social media, or crisis-line.”
If anyone is worried about someone they think might be at risk of violence, they can call 0800 REFUGE, which is available 24/7.
Women’s Refuge has set up and appeal for those who are in a position to make a one-off donation to help Refuges affected by the cyclone here. Any contributions are greatly appreciated.
Communications, Marketing and Fundraising Manager
027 403 5155