10 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Domestic violence concerns prompt lockdown plea

8:41 am on 10 April 2020

New Zealand's Women's Rights Commissioner is pleading for a reduction in domestic violence as some family bubbles become more dangerous.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali'i Dr Karanina Sumeo

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali'i Dr Karanina Sumeo. Photo: RNZ Pacific

Covid-19 has heightened the risks for those most vulnerable to family violence especially women, children, disabled and rainbow people and those from our ethnic-minority communities.

Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo said abusers must call for help before intentionally hurting family members.

"In many ways, we all are feeling stressed, anxious, or even angry. Losing a job, a business, hours of work, sleep, connections with friends are not reasons to lose control and abuse those who care for you," Dr Sumeo said.

"There is absolutely no excuse for violence."

"We could use the few essential services like pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations and dairies as places where both victims and perpetrators can reach out for help, without stigma or blame by providing special phones and free internet services so they can search for support agencies when this is not possible from home."

She said it would also be up to family and friends to step up for victims of abuse during this time.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Women's Refuge: (0800 733 843)

It's Not OK (0800 456 450)

Shine: 0508 744 633

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

Victim Support: 0800 650 654

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 - 0

The National Network of Stopping Violence Services has information on specialist family violence agencies.

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email (talk@youthline.co.nz)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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