During an emergency, partner violence and child abuse can get worse.
The impacts from COVID-19 may affect your ability to parent, and how you keep yourself and your children safe. This page has information if you, or someone you know is affected by violence.
For parents experiencing violence
Helplines and family violence services are still available. You can call them any time. See our Information for people experiencing abuse.
Help is also available for people using violence.
If you are worried about someone else see our information on how to help.
Stay connected. Talk to friends, whānau and neighbours if you need help or support.
If you are separated and have shared care
Shared care arrangements can be a particular concern for people who have experienced violence from their co-parent. People who use violence may use contact arrangements as a tool to control their partner. They may use COVID-19 restrictions as a reason to not comply with contact arrangements.
The Ministry of Justice updates their information on Guidance for managing shared parenting during COVID-19 alert levels when alert levels change.
For updates on how Courts are operating during different Alert Levels, see the Ministry of Justice Information for all court users. You find specific updates related to Family Court and Youth Court on the Courts of NZ webpage and District Courts website. You can also call 0800 COURTS (0800 268 787).
If you need help to manage shared custody contact a lawyer. You can contact Community Law Centres for free legal support. There have been some changes to eligibility for legal aid because of the impacts from COVID-19. See the Ministry of Justice website to find a legal aid lawyer/provider.
You may have to change how you interact and communicate with your former partner about shared care. This resource from the UK has information on keeping safe under Some issues to consider when thinking about alternatives to contact when there are safety concerns. Note the legal recommendations do not apply in New Zealand.
Updates from Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children
See the Oranga Tamariki website for information on how Oranga Tamariki has changed their service.
Looking after your children
Your children’s wellbeing is linked to your wellbeing. It is important to look after yourself. See the official COVID-19 website for information on wellbeing for suggestions to look after your mental health, support your children, free tools and where to go if you need more help.
Teens and young adults can get support by:
- Contacting YouthLine by freetext to 234, free call to 0800 37 66 33 and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Calling Lifeline on 1737 to talk to someone about their feelings and worries
- See the information from Netsafe on Safe Online Relationships
If you work with parents who may be experiencing partner violence
This brief explains the link between partner violence and child abuse.
Our NZFVC issues paper on Child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and parenting identifies 5 key principles when working with parents:
- Provide holistic support for children
- Support the non-abusing parent
- Support the mother-child relationship
- Hold the perpetrator accountable
- Be culturally responsive
For more information on how to respond, see our information for non-specialist services.