The increased number of people Napier Women's Refuge is seeing is "out of character" for this time of year.

Napier branch manager Megan Thomassen-Clarke said it was "difficult to quantify" reasons why they were seeing a steady stream of people needing their assistance.

"We are generally now in a slower season but we're not hitting the same statistics as we were this time last year.

"This year it's different and it has been noticed in Hawke's Bay."


She said numbers compared with the same time last year were up but that could be for any reason.

She said an influx of people could often be pinpointed to specific events, such as an important rugby game, when numbers went up.

The New Zealand Herald has launched a series on the family violence, raising awareness about the issue.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported women's refuges in their region had experienced an influx of women and children needing help at the weekend.

Tauranga Women's Refuge manager Angela Warren-Clark said the refuges in the region were all full over the weekend.

"We think it's something to do with the [NZME] campaign that is happening at the moment.

"We're not sure, but it's very busy."

Mrs Thomassen-Clarke said she would like to think numbers in Napier had increased in response to the New Zealand Herald's media coverage, rather than an increase in incidents, but she could have no way of knowing.

She approved of the recent series, saying: "If we can highlight it in any way that we can then that's a good thing."

Hastings Women's Refuge manager Julie Hart had not noticed an increase in numbers at the Hastings centre but that could be down to creative ways of keeping women safe in their own homes rather than requiring a stay in the safe house.

She said the number of people seeking help was always increasing. The safe house was full and the refuge helped women to gain protection orders, meaning they could stay home.

The New Zealand Herald series highlighting family violence continues.

GET HELPIf you or someone you know is experiencing physical or physiological abuse, phone

Women's Refuge on 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843).