Hastings Women's Refuge says closing the doors to people in need would be an absolute last resort but could be a reality if it doesn't receive a funding boost.
Statistics show about 20 per cent of family violence cases are reported - the refuge also deals with the 80 per cent that aren't.
"To be honest about it, the refuge faces a large deficit this year," manager Julie Hart said. "If we don't do something to create sustainable funding, we will have to start shutting down services."
Demand has greatly outweighed refuge resources and funding. Between July 2012 and June 2013, the government contracted Hastings Women's Refuge to provide a safe house for 27 women and their children; it actually accommodated 82.
The refuge was paid to offer community support to 84 women, but actually helped 118. It was funded to assist women named on 49 police reports (111 call-outs or similar) and dealt with 571. It answered 2314 crisis and support calls, but was paid for 417.
Those figures only covered Hastings, although it's an area which has some of the highest domestic violence rates in New Zealand.
Six staff were employed in two areas - advocacy and education - but some of them ended up working 10 to 20 hours more than they were paid to do.
Where the refuge used to rely on volunteers to help out, many of the jobs have become too specialised.
"We meet large numbers, we are facing all the government changes and the It's Not OK campaign, all those very good ways to get the message out there, but our workload has gone through the roof," Ms Hart said.
In a typical year, the refuge saw violence of all types, affecting people from different backgrounds and cultures.
"There are the Once Were Warriorscases, right through to intimate partner violence.
"We are seeing an increase in child-to-parent violence from people in their teens and early 20s, elder abuse, though we refer those cases to Age Concern. We have had a huge increase in intrafamily violence - that might be a cousin or a nephew."
More men were also reaching out for advice and assistance, although they were not able to secure a room in the safe house at this stage.
With no way to forecast extra funding from the government, the refuge had to turn away from traditional measures of fundraising and call on the community.
"One way to help is through payroll giving - if 400 people gave $5 a week, it would make us sustainable."
It was also looking for corporate sponsorship, whether it be to cover a women's education and support programme or maintain a room in the safe house.
With just three people managing calls on its crisis line, the refuge could also do with more volunteers and would be holding a training session for people who were interested.
Ms Hart wants to create a fundraising sub-committee where people can help, so that full-time staff can concentrate on work at the coalface.
• To donate or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org; visit givealittle.co.nz/org/HastingsWomens or speak to your employer about pay roll giving