New Zealand’s Chief Victims Advisor to Government, Dr Kim McGregor, wants victims and survivors of family violence and sexual violence to know that the Police and social services are there to help them even through this period of lockdown.
“My message for all New Zealanders: You are not alone. It’s not ok for anyone to hurt you. Violence is still a crime,” says Dr McGregor.
“Even though we are currently in self-isolation, we still want to hear from you if you, or someone in your bubble is being hurt.
“Many people and families will be experiencing more stress in their homes during this time of isolation, so it’s essential people know they can seek help.
“Government agencies and support organisations remain staffed and are determined to help anyone who is experiencing violence. These are essential services.
“If you are being harmed, there are a range of social services with national help lines available to talk to you, as well as offer practical support and access to safe, emergency accommodation if you need it.
“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.
“Sometimes it is unsafe for you to reach out for help while you are in the same space as the person who is hurting you. If you can’t communicate safely through phone, text, email or social media, maybe your friends, whānau or neighbours could help.
“Neighbours, please do your best to keep an eye on those around you and look for signs that someone may need help, such as if there are any sounds of violence, yelling, crying, family members looking afraid and withdrawn or someone in distress. But please also remember to maintain a safe distance and maintain your ‘bubble’ during this time.
“You can call the Police or social services even if you are not sure but are worried someone is being harmed. You can talk about any behaviours or signs of harm that concern you.
“If you’re worried about yourself or someone else being harmed:
“These are tough times, and many New Zealanders who were facing difficult circumstances at home in the first place need our help to navigate these extraordinary times. This is the time for us to look after each other, be kind, and get through this together,” says Dr McGregor.
Contacts for support services
If you are a victim of family violence, sexual violence or there is someone that makes you fearful, threatens or harasses you, seek help as soon as possible. You have the right to be safe.
If you are in immediate danger or someone you know is, when it is safe to do so, call the Police on 111, even if you are not totally sure harm is occurring.
For everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place, please go to covid19.govt.nz(external link)
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