Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Women's groups to share new first responder

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Nicky Wilkins, Sonia Pathak, Angela Warren-Clark and Kylie Mckee. Photo/Supplied
Nicky Wilkins, Sonia Pathak, Angela Warren-Clark and Kylie Mckee. Photo/Supplied

Tauranga Women's Refuge, Shakti and Bay of Plenty Sexual Assault Services will be able to provide a quicker response thanks to the Acorn Foundation.

The Acorn Foundation would provide funding over the next three years worth $120,000, to pay for a newly created role of first responder.

The person would travel with police to emergency call-outs in relation to domestic violence.

The trained advocate would do a risk assessment for the victim[s], safety planning for vulnerable families, and be able to provide the appropriate supported pathway for the victim[s].

Acorn Foundation general manager Nicky Wilkins said the trust was thrilled they were able to help such deserving organisations in the Bay.

"We are seeing the need to collaborate more effectively with local community groups. They know where their needs are and know what they are good at doing, so let's support that great work they are doing."

Mrs Wilkins said the foundation had been making donations to the three charities every year since 2007.

"We got them together at the start of this year and said 'this is what we have been doing, is this the most effective way to help your organisations. Or could we be doing it in a better way?"

From that, they all decided they would like to have one communal social worker, she said.

This year the foundation was committing $20,000 to the new role. The next two years they would commit $50,000 a year.

Tauranga Women's Refuge Manager Angela Warren-Clark said they had been frustrated by by the gap between the first 111 call and the referral on to their services.

"It only takes a matter of minutes sometimes for an abuser to uproot the whole family and move them - or to destroy a phone so that we can't contact the victim in the morning.

"This new role will make a crucial difference to how quickly we are able to wrap safety around these women and children.

"The shared role makes so much sense, and means we can all work more effectively."

Bay of Plenty Sexual Assault chief executive Kylie McKee said funding ensured the victims of domestic or sexual assault get channelled very quickly to the appropriate service so they can be seen.

It was all about the clients, she said.

"That they do receive the urgent support they need in the quickest possible manner. It's definitely a client win."

To read more about the position, view it here.

Domestic Violence

One in four women will experience domestic violence within their lifetime.

On average, a woman will return to her abuser seven times before she seeks help or moves away. Why? There are many reasons - including promises of change, fear, lack of support, feelings of powerlessness, threats, or believing she's somehow to blame.

Do you need help?

The Tauranga Women's Refuge: 0800 86 733843
Shakti Women's Refuge: 0800 742 584
Bay fo Plenty Sexual Assault Services: 0800 227 233

- Bay of Plenty Times

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