Support services remain available for perpetrators of family violence

Violence is always a choice and you always have the option to reach out and use the support that is available, says Merran Lawler. Photo supplied

As social isolation increases cases of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdown, family violence specialists are urging people who are at risk of using violence to use the support services that are still available during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Specialist support services are crucial for people who have used violence, and may well be living with their victims – usually vulnerable women and children.

“We know that for people who have used or may use violence, living with family and whānau during this time may become problematic,” says Merran Lawler, general manager of National Network of Family Violence Services.

Family violence incidents typically increase during crisis and disaster situations.

Taking responsibility
Appealing directly to those at risk of using violence, Lawler says: “Violence is always a choice and you always have the option to reach out and use the support that is available to make different and better choices. It’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone in your home and your bubble is safe and that you are not the source of greater risk for them.”

Specialist Family Violence services are essential services and continue to operate in the community, either via telephone or video conferencing, she says.

“This is a stressful time for everyone. But family violence is never okay: it will continue to be policed and everyone who is affected by it will continue to be supported.”

  • For people who have used or are using violence, call HeyBro on 0800 439 276 or the SHINE Helpline on 0508 744 633.
  • To find a specialist Family Violence service in your area, visit www.nnfvs.org.nz.
  • If you’re in danger, call the Police on 111.
  • For victims of Family Violence, call the SHINE Helpline on 0508 744 633 or Womens Refuge Crisis Line on 0800 733 843.