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Stacks of work . . . Gore and Clutha Women's Refuge social worker Talia McConell (left), Alice the dog and manager Sam Munroe with the paperwork that has piled up after a busy few months. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

While many people in Gore wouldn’t know there was a family violence problem on their doorstep, Gore and Clutha Women’s Refuge statistics tell a different tale.

There have been two safe house admissions a week for the past month, 260 police referrals in the past six months and the crisis line has been inundated with phone calls.

The crisis line received 40 calls in November, 34 in December and there have been 19 this month.

There were 680 referrals last year and the refuge had access to four emergency houses in Dunedin from the end of last year.

Refuge manager Sam Munroe said people were more aware of family violence but some others were not as informed.

“I think there is more people calling us but there is also a huge amount [of people] that think there isn’t a family violence problem in Gore.”

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Gore, said most family violence incidents involved alcohol and/or drugs.

“It sparks off arguments, so we’d just like to reiterate to people to moderate their intake.

“Be mindful that kids are in the house and they hear and see everything and that impacts on them in the long run.”

Ms Munroe said school holidays, financial stress, alcohol or drugs could play a part in incidents, but there was no set pattern.

“They are underlying issues that are always there but the times we are busy always vary.

“Christmas was steady but it really took off in January there’s no set reason for it.”

Refuge education officer Jamie Addison agreed with Ms Munroe, saying family violence occurred at any time of the year.

“That’s the thing with family violence, it happens and there’s not a specific season for it

Ms Munroe encouraged people to seek support no matter how serious the incident was.

“Give us a ring or give the police a ring to call – don’t be afraid to call.

“Even if they just want to talk about it .. When we notice something that’s not OK we need to do something about it.

“We’d rather have the call and it not be anything than not have the call and it be something serious.”

Refuge social worker Talia McConnell was pleased businesses were being proactive since the introduction of the Domestic Violence Protection Act 2018.

“We’ve had people coming in asking if they can have our brochures to help people if they need them and just being there to offer the training and support around that if needed,” Ms McConnell said.

The team was grateful to the community for its help, especially with the 56 hampers delivered at Christmas, she said.