2 Jan 2009

Increase in family violence during holiday period

2:48 pm on 2 January 2009

Women's Refuges are reporting an increase in family violence over the holiday period compared to previous years.

The National Collective of Women's Refuges said the build-up in requests for help in the weeks before Christmas started earlier than usual and carried on through to the end of the year.

Spokesperson Sarah Pomeroy said Christmas is usually a quieter time for refuges as people are aiming to keep the family unit peaceful during that period.

Nelson Women's and Children's Refuge manager Trudi Brand said the centre dealt with almost three times more women between Christmas and New Year than previous years.

As well as usual Christmas pressures, she said financial stress and uncertainty about employment have been factors in the rise.

Ms Brand said more men have been bringing women into the refuge in Nelson, and some have asked for help for themselves, because they were worried about the impact they were having on their partners and did not want the situation to escalate any further.

Trudi Brand said there had also been an increase in the number of younger girls, aged in their late teens and early twenties, approaching the organisation for help.