Refuge call­ing for vol­un­teers


Five days after a to­tal knee re­place­ment Caro­line Herewini was back in her of­fice, ly­ing on the couch work­ing

‘‘I was meant to have six weeks off but there was just too much work to do,’’ the grand­mother laughed.

There are only two ser­vices of­fer­ing 24 hour help for fam­ily vi­o­lence in Porirua and Kapiti - the po­lice and Herewini’s Te Whare Ti­aki Wahine Refuge, a sis­ter agency to Women’s Refuge.

When the cri­sis line rings ev­ery­thing else is dropped. It could be the po­lice, a woman in dan­ger, a fam­ily in fear - it is al­ways, al­ways an­swered, Herewini said.

‘‘We have the same re­sponse time as the po­lice do and we never fail to re­spond im­me­di­ately.’’

It’s a cru­cial job - done on a shoe­string bud­get - and is in des­per­ate need of vol­un­teers, she said.

‘‘Our vol­un­teers are our life force and our back­bone and we need more.’’

The refuge is re­spon­si­ble for two safe houses - one in Kapiti and the other in Porirua - and they de­pend on a tiny vol­un­teer pool to do the work.

With three vol­un­teers in Kapiti and five in Porirua City, they have be­gun a re­cruit­ment drive for women to sign up for their train­ing pro­gramme, be­gin­ning in Fe­bru­ary.

Ide­ally vol­un­teers could com­mit to one shift a week, pro­vid­ing cover for the 24 hour cri­sis line.

Any­one who cared about the safety of women and chil­dren in their com­mu­nity should con­sider vol­un­teer­ing, she said.

‘‘We look like your moth­ers, your aun­ties, your nan­nies and we need your help - our whanau need your help.’’

Kapiti de­tec­tive Niall Dee­han said the refuge pro­vided in­valu­able help to the po­lice.

‘‘This is an es­sen­tial ser­vice al­ready but they could achieve a lot more if they had greater sup­port. ‘‘Caro­line is a re­mark­able woman, she is ac­cept­ing, hum­ble and gra­cious and works harder than most peo­ple I know.

‘‘She de­serves a lot of recog­ni­tion for her con­tri­bu­tion to our com­mu­nity. ’’

Vol­un­teer train­ing starts Fe­bru­ary 9 and is held once a week for eight weeks. An af­ter­noon and evening course is avail­able. Con­tact 04 234 6118 or Whare­m­ for more de­tails.

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