Domestic abuse comes in all shapes and forms and can affect people from all walks of life, but one thing that remains consistent is the amount of help that is available 24/7.

"If you are scared, reach out – there are many support networks available to ensure people remain in a safe bubble during lockdown," says Western Waikato Emergency Operating Centre Controller Wayne Allan.

"The effects of Covid-19 are causing enormous uncertainty and stress with whanau. It's important to know that even though the country is in lockdown, Covid-19 safety plans have been implemented and support services are still operating. Help is just a phone call away."

A local service that is providing ongoing help during the Alert Level 4 lockdown says it can create another safe bubble for those who are not safe in their own.


Waitomo Waipā Women's Refuge services the entire Western Waikato area including Te Awamutu, Cambridge, Waitomo, Ōtorohanga, and rural and coastal townships and they want people to know that they are there to call on at any time of the day if help is needed.

Manager Wendy Valler says it is important now more than ever to seek help if people are at risk of experiencing any form of abuse.

"We have noticed a small increase in requests for help, but we also understand it's more difficult to reach out and get help at the moment," says Wendy.

"Family harm is still a crime and it is okay to leave your home if you are unsafe to get to a place of safety. Incidents of domestic abuse will only continue to rise as stressors such as social isolation and financial pressure take their toll on whanau throughout the country."

The refuge is also using this time to gear up for post lockdown.

"We are making plans on how we will continue to support people and what that support will look like after the end of all this."

"Although we are working differently at the moment, our service hasn't changed and help is available."

How to access help:
• If you are in immediate danger, dial 111 and ask for police
• Local Women's Refuge crisis line – 0800 733 843
• Victim Support 0800 842 846
• 0800 HEYBRO (0800 439 276) is a help line specifically for people who are at risk of hurting someone
• Shine (making homes violence free) 0508 744 633
• Lifeline 0800 543 354
• Waikato Welfare helpline – 0800 800 405
• If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 healthline 0800 358 5453