If you are living in fear, it is important to think how you can keep yourself and your children safe, as well as holding the person who is violent to you accountable. If you have any concerns please talk to your midwife, a Plunket staff member, other well child health provider, your doctor, or your local Women’s Refuge or by calling 0800 007 750.
If you or your children are in danger, call the police on 111. Police family violence policy requires police to treat family violence, and breaches of protection orders, as a serious crime. You have the right to report every act of violence to the police, even a long time after some of the controlling behaviour has happened.
Talk to a doctor, Plunket staff, Women’s Refuge, or someone you can trust. Visit the Campaign for Action on Family Violence website.
Staff at the Women's Refuge can listen and provide confidential and practical support. They also provide a free 24-hour phone line (0800 007 750), help in the community, home visits, emergency safe houses, accommodation, legal information, and support when dealing with police, lawyers, courts, Work and Income, doctors, etc.
They will support you whether you stay in the safe house, in your own home, with friends, or with whānau/family.
A safety plan includes the phone numbers of people you can trust, a way for you and your children to get out safely, a place to go, and a plan of how to get there (talk to a Women’s Refuge advocate and visit their website).
Keep a diary of events and see a doctor to have physical and mental injuries recorded.
Attend an education and support group. There are free ‘living free from violence’ groups for women and children nationwide.
If you feel you are using violence or recognise some of the behaviours listed above in yourself it is important to contact someone such as your local Stopping Violence programme. Information can be found on the Campaign for Action on Family Violence website and your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you are concerned about a child in your family or a friend’s child If you are concerned that a child you know is being hurt or neglected, you need to tell someone about your concerns. The abuse could be physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, or not having their needs met.
If a child tells you they have been hurt, it is important to believe the child and get help for them. A child who is being abused cannot always tell you — especially young children — but you may be concerned by changes in behaviour or physical signs of violence.
Your friends or family members may need your support or practical help. Talk to them about how you can help. You can ring Child, Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459) to talk about your concerns.
See the booklet Everyday Families by Child, Youth and Family for useful information on parenting, support services, and recognising abuse and neglect. Copies are available in Māori, Samoan, Tongan and English from Plunket staff, Child, Youth and Family offices.