Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge Dr Ang Jury says that young women are in increasing danger from domestic violence, and things could get worse in alert Level 2.
New Zealand already has the highest rate of domestic violence in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and with the change to Level 2 Women’s Refuge is preparing for the possibility of a second-surge in cases.
“It would be really surprising to me were we to escape that increase in demand,” she said.
Jury says that the typical media representation of the demographic that is affected by domestic violence is inaccurate.
Although a large portion of their clientele are married and older with children, she said, “The fastest growing client group are the 18-24s. Nobody is immune to this.”
Jury was unable to give a specific number of student cases, but said it does happen to university students.
“Just because you’re doing business studies at Massey in Palmerston North and come from a nice, white, middle class background... it can still happen to you,” she said.
The organisation has taken steps to be more accessible to younger women. They updated contact services to include social media, and increased the number of younger women who work within the organisation.
The organisation is making sure that all of their refuges are ready for that possibility.
Ultimately, Jury emphasises that a false alarm is preferable to an injury or a death. Anyone can ask for help.
“There’s no stigma attached to that. If you want help, you just have to reach out for it.”
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR HELP
• If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, phone police on 111
• Shine 'Making homes violence free' 0508744633
• 211 Helpline 0800211211 to find, and be transferred to, community-based health
and social support services in your area.
• Find your Local Women's Refuge: 0800 743 843 (0800 REFUGE).
• Family violence information line - call 0800 456 450 to find out about local
services or how to help someone near you.
• Victim Support - call 0800 842 846. 24-hour service for all victims of serious crime.