Despite the gruelling economic conditions Kiwis are opening their wallets to help those who are trapped in lockdown with an abuser.

A Women's Refuge campaign asking the public to gift someone a "Safe Night" has experienced a "huge uptake" during the Covid-19 level 4 alert. The organisation says it is astounded by the support during a difficult time.

Nearly 14,000 people have donated since the campaign launched in December last year totalling 24,887 safe nights.

Women's Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury said it would go a long way in helping assist the nearly 60,000 women who are referred to them each year.


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"We have seen an amazing response online since we have entered lockdown," Jury said.

"We are truly blown away by the generosity of the public."

They were still analysing the data but, she said, although there was a good response to the campaign early on, most of the safe nights were purchased after lockdown restrictions were imposed.

"We are really heartened that during a stressful time for everyone, the public would take into consideration how daunting and traumatic this situation must be for those trapped in lockdown with an abuser."

On average 236 women and children need a safe place to sleep every single night.

On Good Friday, New Zealand police released statistics about family harm showing a 20 per cent spike in cases on the first Sunday after the lockdown, compared to the previous month.

Jury said what they were seeing was consistent so far with what has occurred in other countries - a flurry of activity at the beginning of the lockdown, then a period of calm before things pick up dramatically as lockdown provisions ease.


The organisation says it is aware of a 50 per cent drop in protection order applications.

"I do not believe this indicates a mass change in behaviour or incidents of family violence, especially in a country that has the highest family violence rates in the developed world," Jury said.

In fact, it may show that those experiencing family violence are having a harder time reaching out during lockdown and a slow boil is occurring, which could lead to more severe incidents, she said.

"Constant monitoring is a pervasive technique used by abusers along with restrictions on access to necessities like food, clothing and healthcare; the intensity of that monitoring would be unparalleled given the circumstances.

"To utilise a statement that the Prime Minister used recently 'absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence'. We believe this to be particularly applicable to what we are currently seeing."

As an essential service Women's Refuge remains open during the lockdown.


It operates 40 refuges across the country stretching from the top of the North to Invercargill in the South Island.

Support services available:

• 211 Helpline (0800 211 211) – for help finding, and direct transfer to, community-based health and social support services in your area.

• Find your Local Women's Refuge by calling 0800 743 843 (0800 REFUGE) to be linked up with an advocate in your area. You can also Facebook message them through Women's Refuge Facebook page or email them on

• Victim Support – call 0800 842 846. 24-hour service for all victims of serious crime.

• Victim Information Line/Victim Centre – call 0800 650 654 or email

• Shine domestic abuse services – free call 0508 744 633 (9am to 11pm) if you're experiencing domestic abuse, or want to know how to help someone else.


• Family violence information line – call 0800 456 450 to find out about local services or how to help someone near you.

• Elder Abuse Helpline – call 0800 32 668 65 (0800 EA NOT OK) - a 24-hour service answered by registered nurses who can connect to local elder abuse specialist providers.

• Tu Wahine Trust – call 09 838 8700 for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau.

• Shakti New Zealand – call 0800 742 584 for culturally competent support services for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin who have experienced domestic violence.

• Safe to Talk – sexual harm helpline. Call 0800 044 334, text 4334 or email

• Rape Crisis Centres – call 0800 88 3300 for contact details of your local centre. Provides support for survivors of sexual abuse, their families, friends and whānau.


• Male Survivors Aotearoa New Zealand – call 0800 044 344. Offers one-to-one, peer and support groups for male survivors of sexual abuse and their significant others.

• Tu Wahine Trust – call 09 838 8700 for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for survivors of sexual harm (mahi tukino) and violence within whānau.

• ACC Sensitive Claims Unit – call 0800 735 566 for access to services related to sexual abuse or sexual assault.

• Hey Bro helpline – call 0800 HeyBro (0800 439 276). 24/7 help for men who feel they're going to harm a loved one or whānau member.

• Korowai Tumanoko – text or call 022 474 7044 for a kaupapa Māori service for those with concerning or harmful sexual behaviour.

• Stop – support for concerning or harmful sexual behaviour.


• Need to Talk? 1737 – free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.

• Youthline – call 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email

• Kidsline – call 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age (24-hour service).

• Skylight– call 0800 299 100 helping children, young people and their families and whānau through tough times of change, loss, trauma and grief.

• Oranga Tamariki – call 0508 325 459 (0508 FAMILY) or email for concerns about children and young people. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website