Cuppa for anti abuse campaign
New Zealanders need to speak openly about domestic violence to enable victims to come forward and ask for help, says Preventing Violence in the Home.
The organisation is raising awareness about the problem and fundraising for its helpline by asking workplaces to host a morning tea as part of New Zealand’s Biggest Morning Tea from Monday to June 20.
Preventing Violence partnership and training manager Holly Carrington says domestic violence victims are often too ashamed or afraid to ask for help.
“Domestic violence is not an issue that people are comfortable talking about, which is a large part of the problem. It does remain a very secretive and hidden issue.”
Preventing Violence in the Home helps victims of abusive relationships – mostly women whose spouses physically abuse them.
Along with its helpline, 0508 DVHELP or 0508-384-357, the organisation has 40 volunteer victim advocates who respond to callouts from police and hospitals.
Advocates are contacted after the offender has been removed from the home by the police or the victim has been transported to hospital.
Victim advocate Bridgit BrethertonJones approaches the role from a “non-intrusive and non-judgemental” perspective.
“We don’t say to a woman ‘you have to leave’.
“We’re there to inform them about what their options are and help with whatever decision they make.”
On average, it will take a woman seven attempts before she is able to leave an abusive relationship.
Ms Carrington says the phoneline receives calls from a cross section of women, all trying to deal with violence in the home.
“It’s a very pervasive issue through all socioeconomic groups and through all cultures,” she says.
“We see a lot of diversity with the victims and offenders.”
The Biggest Morning Tea is designed to get people talking about domestic violence in an informal way, and raise money for the helpline.
“When people have morning tea it is a very social event,” Ms Carrington says.
“We want people to become more comfortable talking about it so that there’s less stigma attached to being a victim of domestic violence.”
For more information about the morning tea visit www.preventing violence.org.nz. – Claire Rorke is an AUT journalism