Women’s Refuge referral numbers spike

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Dealing with 122 referrals in two months is cause for concern, Gore and Clutha Women’s Refuge manager Sam Munroe says.

The referrals came from March 1 to May 1 which included the Alert Level lockdown period, which caused tension.

There were 15 referrals last weekend and about 20 calls during Easter weekend.

Nationally there was a 25% increase of family harm during the lockdown period and there was a definite spike in residential services, she said.

“Everyone has been at home. It’s been the same as the school holiday period but having to homeschool the kids to do things.

“The weather’s started to get wintry now, too, but the biggest thing this time is financially losing jobs.”

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Gore, confirmed there was an increase in reported family harm in Eastern Southland during lockdown.

“This was not unexpected as families are together 24/7 and there will be increased stress within households,” Snr Sgt Fairley said.

“Interestingly enough, some family harm incidents have involved people that are not regular calls for service and some only needed some time to calm down.”

People were encouraged to remain calm and walk away from stressful situations.

“Give yourself time to breathe and get perspective to some form of normal.

“We would encourage people that we have a few less restrictions now but still the main ones apply work from home if you can, only travel if essential.”

Ms Munroe said people needed to be aware they could leave situations during all lockdown periods.

“People didn’t realise they could leave at Level 4.

“You can leave. Get out of there [if you have to].”

Neighbours and community members should report any family harm.

“Ring and ask for support than not.

“Report on it because you just don’t know ..

“It’s positive knowing that we can get them out and police have been absolutely brilliant in helping us.”

Snr Sgt Fairley agreed neighbours were doing the right thing by reporting incidents of harm.

“Some incidents have been extremely serious and thankfully the call was made to police for intervention.

“It’s been good having neighbours home who can call us so we can get to serious incidents sooner.

“Neighbours are not being nosy keeping other families safe.”