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Women's Affairs Minister Hekia Parata is calling on families, whanau, neighbours and communities to take action to stop domestic violence.

Ms Parata said the Women's Refuge Annual Appeal would run from July 18 to 24, aiming to raise awareness about family violence.

"Family violence is an issue we can't afford to ignore -- the reality is that one in three women in New Zealand have experienced partner violence according to the 2006 New Zealand Crime and Safety Survey," she said.

"The impact of family violence is widespread and long-lasting. Violence affects women's physical and mental health and affects their ability to participate in education and employment."

Ms Parata said the social and economic cost of family violence was estimated at $5.3 billion a year.

"International evidence shows that family violence increases after natural disasters and the increase may last up to a year -- something Christchurch Refuge has experienced first-hand following the earthquakes," she said.

"Christchurch Refuge reported its safe houses were full within 24 hours of the recent June 13 quakes and have stayed full ever since."

- NZPA