NZ lockdown – day 10: Women’s Refuge sees high demand, strains

Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury ... more than 60 percent of open refuges have reported increases in requests for help. Image: Rebekah Parsons-King/RNZ

By RNZ News

Women’s Refuge says lockdown worries and family strains are resulting in high demand at many of their services right now.

Chief executive Ang Jury said more than 60 percent of refuges have reported increases in requests for help.

Dr Jury said their services are still operating and Covid-19 safety plans are in place, including using more alternative accommodation outside of safe houses, at places such as motels.

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“If you feel unsafe, leave, walk out of the house. Yes, we’re in lockdown but your bubble isn’t supposed to be an unsafe place. Reach out for police, get a neighbour to reach out to police, call us, we can produce another safe bubble for you.”

The spread of Covid-19 is causing enormous uncertainty and stress, and during lockdown people are isolated from social structures and outlets like work, school, and time with family and friends, she said.

It also meant staff had to work differently, she said.

“They’re working in a way that is totally foreign to refuge workers generally, you know there’s a fair bit of hugging and there’s comforting kids and all those sort of things. We can’t do those now so we are having to adjust to delivering refuge services in a very different way.”

Check on the vulnerable
Dr Jury said being kind to each other includes checking in on those who are vulnerable, by phoning them to see how they are doing and to see if they are safe.

Earlier Dr Jury said people at risk in lockdown should set up a safe word with a friend that can be texted or mentioned in conversation, to discretely indicate they need help if they are worried they might be overheard in calling for help.

Chief Victims Adviser to the government Dr Kim McGregor earlier said it was important that people knew that even though the country was in lockdown, services to keep everyone safe were still operating.

She said violence was still a crime and it was okay to leave for women to leave home if they were unsafe to get to a place of safety.

The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed there were 82 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, 52 confirmed and 30 probable, bringing the total to 950.

There are 10 in hospital around the country and one in ICU at Wellington Regional Hospital, Dr Bloomfield said.

Dr Bloomfield said that yesterday was highest single day of testing at 3631, bringing total tests to 33,116. There was now testing capacity for 6000 a day.

This article is republished by the Pacific Media Centre under a partnership agreement with RNZ.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP – don’t show up at a medical centre.

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