Waiariki Women's Refuge is calling for locals to help, following a significant increase in the number of domestic violence victims using their services.

During the past year, the refuge has seen more than 2000 families affected by domestic violence come through its doors, up from between 1000 to 1500 families in previous years.

A Waiariki Women's Refuge spokeswoman said she was unsure as to what caused the spike in numbers but said it was obviously a "tough time" for many of the women who on top of dealing with abusive and violent relationships, were facing financial pressures, having difficulty securing employment or suitable accommodation, or were experiencing problems with alcohol or drugs, including synthetic cannabis.

This month marks national Women's Refuge Awareness and Appeal Month and volunteers will be collecting donations around Rotorua streets every Wednesday starting next week.She encouraged locals to get behind the cause, as every dollar donated would go a long way to help the families the refuge supports.


The money raised would allow the refuge to supply those people with necessities and personal items, like underwear and toiletries, along with things like nappies, colouring in books and crayons for children.

She said people could also donate unwanted clothing, children's toys, books, furniture and any other household items to help the families.

"Often these women and their families come to us with nothing, so if you have anything lying around that you don't use, please bring it in, it will make such a difference," she said.

She said people could drop the items off at the refuge's office on Pererika St.

Women's Refuge New Zealand spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin said the organisation helps more than 20,000 New Zealanders every year.

She said the organisation's 24 hour crisis line receives at least one call every nine minutes.

Earlier this week the Government announced a $9.4 million package of measures to tackle domestic violence, which included extending GPS-tracking devices to a greater number of domestic violence offenders, as well as for victims, who may need to alert police in an emergency to their exact location.

Prime Minister John Key said about half of all homicides and violent offences were related to domestic violence, and on average, 14 women, seven men, and eight children are killed by a member of their family every year.


-Donate goods by dropping them off at the refuge's office or by calling (07) 349 0852. Sometimes volunteers are available to come and pick up the items.
-Donate money by going to the refuge's office or keeping an eye out for volunteers collecting donations around Rotorua streets every Wednesday this month, starting next week.
-The Waiariki Women's Refuge is at 86 Pererika St. The office is open from 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday. To contact the office call (07) 349 0852.
-For more information visit the Waiariki Women's Refuge Facebook page.