In support of its annual Light it Orange appeal week (12-18 June 2023), Shine is calling upon the public, business and community groups to work together to help stop family violence.
Everybody has a part to play to reduce our rates of family violence in New Zealand, says Shine Senior Family Violence Adviser and Light It Orange spokesperson Rachel Kain.
“Over half of New Zealand women have experienced family violence in their lifetime. It’s a staggering statistic and one that’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed by, but there are things we can all do to do something about it. You can donate or get a group together to fundraise. You can also educate yourself on how to safely respond to someone who confides in you that they are in this dangerous situation.
“Chances are most people will know someone – whether it’s a friend, neighbour, colleague or a family member – who is experiencing family violence from a family member,” she says.
Here are seven simple, practical things you can do to help:
If you know someone’s in danger, call 111 now.
- “I believe you” – Talking about family violence is deeply personal and courageous. If someone shares their experience with you, acknowledge this in your response, thank the person for telling you, and don’t judge them. Always treat people in a way that upholds their dignity.
- Don’t push the person to leave – They know their partner (or whoever is using violence against them) better than anyone, and will already be trying to do things to keep themselves – and their children – safe.
- Take their lead. Support their priorities and don’t force them to do something they’re not ready or don’t want to do – Help in practical ways with transport, appointments, or child-minding. People experiencing abuse who have children often prioritise their children’s wellbeing over their own, so ask how you can help with the kids. If there is violence happening at home, children are directly experiencing it. If you are concerned about your friend or family call the Shine helpline 24/7 for advice on 0508-744-633 or use our live webchat service.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep – It’s not your role to save the day. Let the person know help is available and support them to make decisions, rather than guarantee their safety or make the violence.
- Stay connected – Isolation is a key tactic of family violence. By staying connected, even if it might feel like you are not doing anything or it might be frustrating at times, you are helping them resist the control. Let the person know you’re there for them if and when they want to talk to you and continue to build trust. Take their lead on how and when to contact them.
- Find out about resources in your community – specialist services, helplines – Find out who your local family violence specialist service is and offer to donate or support the service in other ways. If you want to find your local service, call the Shine helpline or you can find more information on the Shine, It’s Not OK or Women’s Refuge websites. If people want to be connected to a service, offer to make the call together or let the person use your phone to make the call.
- Challenge attitudes – Family violence comes from people believing they have the right to control and abuse others. Respectfully and safely challenge attitudes. Let’s make family violence unacceptable for all.
Shine is a charity and is reliant on donations to help provide our services. To donate, visit the Light it Orange website where you can also find lots of fun ways to fundraise.