20 Aug 2023

Referrals to Women's Refuge at 'epidemic levels'

7:35 am on 20 August 2023
woman sitting on bed in room with light from window (abuse concept)

Last year Women's Refuge answered an average of 71 crisis calls each day (file photo). Photo: 123RF

Women's Refuge says the number of referrals to its services remain at epidemic levels.

Dr Ang Jury CEO of Women's Refuge

Ang Jury. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Last year, 52,000 women and children were referred, and an average 71 crisis calls answered each day.

Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said this year, the numbers remained unacceptably high.

"I think we are needing to urgently start doing some serious education work if we're going to have a shot at pulling some of these numbers down in years to come," she said.

However, she said it was heartening that women continued to reach out for help.

The number of nights women were staying in Women's Refuge safe houses was also increasing, she said.

"We were sitting around 19, 20 days in a safe house and now, the last number I saw actually was 27 on average, so that's quite a significant jump," she said.

"Even though it has taken a few years to get there, it's quite clear that the housing issues that this country's facing are impacting on us now as well."

Jury believed the Women's Refuge could double the capacity of its safe houses and still be full.

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