If the issue of family violence is to be solved in Rotorua, it needs to be addressed by the wider community, not just the support agencies waiting at the bottom of the cliff, according to Waiariki Women's Refuge chairwoman Rangianiwaniwa Pehikino.

She said community engagement was the key to addressing and solving the issue in Rotorua.

"The issue of family violence needs to be one taken on by the whole community. Everyone needs to be responsible and responsive to the issue as it is not one that only affects the poor or Maori. It doesn't matter what your nationality or social standing is, violence can happen in any home."

She said in order to get to a point where family violence was no longer an issue in the community, "services need to completely wrap around families in need".


"Until the issue is seen as one needing to be addressed by the community as well as Government agencies the refuge will always be the ambulance waiting at the bottom of the cliff.

"There needs to be support not only for the victims but the perpetrators as well. It's a matter of the whole community collaborating to protect, care and nurture everyone.

"We can't solve the issue alone. People in Rotorua need to raise awareness and take action when they hear, see or know of someone in a family violence situation."

Ms Pehikino said locally the refuge was still receiving daily calls - as the Rotorua Daily Post and NZME week-long series on family violence came to an end.

"There hasn't been a huge increase in the number of calls at our office but I am aware there has been an increase in people seeking help nationally."

Ms Pehikino said the rise of psychological abuse was concerning as it was "very difficult to identify and take legal action against".

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"Things like name-calling, threats, financial control and degrading comments don't leave physical marks but are more damaging in the long run.

"Bruises and bumps fade eventually but the harm caused by psychological abuse runs much deeper and takes much longer for a person to recover from - with some people developing lifelong mental issues."

Where to get help:

- Waiariki Women's Refuge - (07) 349 0852.
- Family Focus Rotorua - (07) 346 2096.
- It's Not OK helpline - 0800 456 450.
- Shine national helpline - 0508 744 633.
- If it is an emergency, call 111.