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Waiariki Women's Refuge manager Paula Coker said the currently empty safe house felt like the "calm before the storm" with family violence incidents predicted to rise by 35 per cent during the Covid-19 level 4 alert lockdown.
The refuge has a safe house which can accommodate three families but due to the lockdown restrictions five motel rooms have also been organised.
Yesterday, the Government announced the country's first coronavirus death, a woman in her 70s in Greymouth Hospital who tested positive for the virus on Friday morning.
Canterbury University criminologist Professor Greg Newbold said there had been a big jump in alcohol sales and alcohol and violence were familiar partners.
As the weeks unfolded there would be increasing tensions and ''we would most likely see the domestic violence spikes which were often seen at Christmas''.
In December 2018, Rotorua had the highest number of reported family harm investigations in 12 years, with 399 cases investigated.
In 2017, December and June had 322 investigations and January had 330. One month before that, December 2016, had 339.
Coker said predictions saw family violence shoot up to around 35 per cent during the lockdown in other countries, which was concerning for Rotorua with an already troublesome family harm report.
While there had been no incidents yet, she was aware things could "change in seconds".
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"It's a bit like the calm before the storm and even I'm surprised our safe house is empty."
For at least a month, refuge staff could not go to houses to collect people or have face-to-face interactions with women, and everything would be done over the phone, email and Zoom.
If the accommodation they had filled up, Coker said there was no real plan B but she said she had been in talks with motels around Rotorua and may call on them to help.
"We just have to get through this crisis as best we can and worry about how everyone's going to get funds back later."
She said whatever needed to happen, she would do what should to keep the women safe while keeping herself and the staff safe.
Now was the time for everyone to work with compassion and love, she said.
"Not around - where's this money coming from.
"At the end of the day, our role is to save lives and if we can then that's what we'll do. If my five rooms fill up then I will try to find more rooms and then I'll worry about that later."
She said the crisis stemmed into other aspects of the lives of the women she helped, with many unable to buy their basic essentials by the time they were paid due to people panic buying.
Man Up original member Mikaere Norris said the job insecurity, income loss and being stuck inside with the same people during the crisis was a recipe for disaster in vulnerable families.
"It's already starting to happen," he said.
Violent outbursts, from men and women, would be around an inability to properly communicate with one another during the high-stress time.
"It's going to be pretty tough times," he said.
And it was not just family violence, but also thefts in the community.
Nationally, Man Up is working to keep support groups for male perpetrators up and running as much as possible through online group sessions.
"Usually if there's something going down they can ring and we can go to their house."
But with lockdown restrictions, the support would be through phone calls, social media messaging and video calls for the men to still have someone to talk to.
"It's one thing talking on the phone but when you're there physically, there's more accountability," Norris said.
"It's the best we can do at this stage with the resources and restrictions we have."
Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group chairman and Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said motels could be an option for those most at risk including women and children.
As part of the nation's alert level 4 and the state of emergency, the group has the power to offer motels, empty through the lockdown's restrictions.
''We need to look at that now as we have empty motels.''
Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said he hoped Civil Defence would ask first before it used the power of requisition on any motels for those at risk.
''I know authorities are coming up with different plans at the moment, including finding housing for doctors and healthcare workers and so on. I'm sure moteliers will voluntarily do it as these are extraordinary times.
''But in New Zealand, ideally, if that happens some sort of fee should be attached or effectively we'd be paying the rent for other people.''
As of Sunday 1pm, there were 63 new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand - 60 new confirmed and three probable cases.
There was a total of 514 cases in New Zealand. 56 people had recovered, while nine people were still in hospital.
A police spokeswoman said the stress and uncertainty from Covid-19 were especially hard for people living with family violence and sexual violence.
"Self-isolation can mean the risk of further violence from a partner, family member or house-mate increases, and there may be challenges to connecting with supportive people and accessing help the way you normally would."
She said the support services were essential services and would remain available, even if services need to be delivered in different ways.
"Violence is a crime at any time and including during this Covid-19 period.
"The government and the police continue to take family violence and sexual violence very seriously."
Helplines are available to find out how to help someone if you are concerned.
"We have a collective responsibility to look out for and help victims, their families and whānau."
She suggested setting up a code word with a friend, family member, or neighbour immediately.
When used, it would be known that immediate help is needed.
There were 13,219 family investigations carried out in the Bay of Plenty last year - nearly 1000 more than the previous year and about 483 more than in 2016.
Of these investigations, 2213 cases went to court, which is the highest number of family harm prosecutions of any region in the country and an average of six a day.
There were 67 more prosecutions than in 2017 and 187 fewer cases than in 2016.
Help Phone Lines
Safe to Talk sexual harm helpline 0800 044334, text 4334
* Rape Crisis — 0800 88 33 00
* Women's Refuge — 0800 733 843
* Shine domestic abuse services free call 0508 744 633 (9am and 11pm)
* Hey Bro helpline — supporting men to be free from violence 0800 HeyBro (439 276)
* Shakti — for migrant and refugee women — 0800 742 584 — 24 hours
* Oranga Tamariki line for concerns about children and young people 0508 326 459
* Te Puna Oranga — whānau crisis line 0800 222 042 — 24 hours