Information for people experiencing abuse

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Last updated 14 September 2022

If you feel unsafe or you are experiencing violence, it is OK to ask for help. You have the right to be safe. 

Family violence and sexual violence services are always available. Their services might change, but they can still help. This includes Women’s Refuge and other services. 

If your home or isolation is not safe at any time, NZ Police have said you can leave your home to get help. If it is not safe for your children, you can take them with you. 

New Zealand’s Chief Victims Advisor to Government, Dr Kim McGregor said "Leaving your home to get yourself and/or others to safety is considered an essential form of travel and you will not be in breach of the level 4 restrictions if you leave your neighbourhood for these reasons."

During an emergency like the COVID pandemic, violence and abuse can change or get worse. Abusers might also use the pandemic as a way to control, threaten or harm. Abusers might withhold necessary items like masks, may share misinformation or not allow access to information about COVID, or prevent access to healthcare or vaccines. 

This page has information on how to get help.


Are you in danger? 

If you are in danger call the Police on 111.  

111 calls are free. You can use a mobile phone to call even if the phone is out of credit. 

If it is not safe to talk when you call 111, push 55 and your call will go to the Police.  

The person who answers will ask simple yes or no questions. If you don’t feel safe to talk, you will be asked to push any key on your phone to answer the question. Learn more about the Silent Solution or how to call 111 when it is not safe to talk.

Police have information about calling 111


What helplines can you call? 

The following helplines are always available for help:


What other ways can you get help? 

It may be hard to make a call or use the internet. 

Talk to a friend, neighbour, family or whānau and ask to use their phone, or ask them to call for you.  

Some services can answer questions through Facebook messenger or offer online chat, see the list above. 

Look for this icon at the bottom of websites. The icon opens from Women's Refuge. The website has information on getting help. If you open the website by clicking on the icon, it won't appear in the internet browser history. Look for the icon on the bottom of Warehouse, Bunnings, Countdown, ASB, BNZ, TradeMe, MSD and many other websites. 


Staying safe online

  • Try to limit who has access to your devices. If you can, keep devices password protected and keep your password private. Try to keep your phone with you to avoid someone tampering with it.
  • Computers and devices will usually keep a history of pages you have looked at. To avoid this, use private or incognito mode.
  • Many browsers will delete the list of pages you have looked at with the shortcut ctrl+shift+del. Detailed instructions for most browsers are at Computer Hope.
  • Netsafe provides The best online safety tips for lockdown (not specific to family or sexual violence).
  • It is no longer required to keep of where you have been for contact tracing. 

NetSafe has information for:


What other things can you do? 

If you can, these things might help: 

The impacts from COVID-19 may affect your ability to parent. It may also affect how you keep yourself and your children safe. See our page with information for parents


More information

For information on family violence see He Ara Mataora: Tools to Stop Violence for People who have been harmed or It’s Not OK

For information on sexual violence or sexual harm see Safe to Talk | Kōrero mai ka ora

E Tū Whānau is a movement for positive change developed by Māori for Māori.

Pasefika Proud addresses violence in Pacific families, delivered and led by Pacific peoples. See their website for a list of Pacific Family Violence Support Service Providers and information about COVID-19 Self Isolation and Protecting Our Loved Ones.

Shakti Youth has created a confinement support group for migrant and refugee women on Facebook to support women who are isolated and facing challenges. The group is a place to share concerns, worries, ideas, skills/knowledge, tips and tricks.

Hohou te Rongo Kahukura - Outing Violence has information about partner and sexual violence in Rainbow communities. This includes tips if you need help from domestic/family or sexual violence services. 



Click here to go to our other COVID-19 pages

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