20 Dec 2010

Surge in domestic violence expected on West Coast

3:59 pm on 20 December 2010

Women's Refuge is expecting a surge in domestic violence on the West Coast early next year because of the large number of jobs lost at the Pike River mine.

The organisation says domestic violence usually rises during the Christmas and summer period because of extra financial stress, alcohol consumption and families spending more time together.

It says violence also jumps after natural disasters, citing a 50% increase in domestic violence following the Christchurch earthquake.

Refuge spokesperson Kiri Hannafin says that, while they certainly hope it doesn't happen, they do expect a rise on the West Coast in January when things get tough after miners' families lose their income.

Women's Refuge says women should have a safety plan all year round but particularly over the holiday period, and police should be called immediately if a woman feels she's in danger.

Family and friends should also keep an eye on their loved ones, the organisation says.