Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson is reminding New Zealanders that there is support available for anyone feeling unsafe during this lockdown.
“We know that family violence and sexual violence can escalate in times of crisis, including isolation,” says Davidson.
“As the lockdown continues, families and relationships may face additional stresses and fatigue. It is important to remember that you do not need to stay in your home or bubble if it is an unsafe environment.
“Throughout lockdown, I have been in regular contact with service providers, officials and engaging with members of the public daily to understand people’s experiences across Aotearoa and whether any additional support is required.
“Support services, such as refuges are working hard to support women and children to stay COVID safe and free from violence. They continue to encourage people to reach out, they are ready and available to help.
“Many social services are providing supportive early interventions to help families and de-escalate the potential of violence. The preliminary data on reporting of family violence to Police has increased and I am pleased that people are reaching out and seeking help.
“I encourage anyone who feels unsafe to reach out to their support network or contact one of the support services listed on the Government’s COVID-19 website.
“For support with anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I also want those who are feeling stressed, angry or worried about their behaviour, to know that there is help available for them too.
“Acknowledging these feelings takes courage, especially during these difficult times. I encourage you to reach out for support and help, and to remember that you too can leave a situation if you need, in order to keep your loved ones safe.
“We all need to be checking on our whānau, friends and neighbours to make sure they are safe in their bubble. If you are concerned about someone, reach out to support services.
“Family violence and sexual violence crisis services can operate under Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3. The Government recognises this is critical so our communities know there are specialist services available and ready to help.
“People in danger or an emergency should contact Police on 111, follow the operator’s instructions if you can’t speak. If you cannot call, leave your bubble and ask a neighbour or passer-by to call for you.”