Forty years ago, two Christchurch women started a safe house for women who were in violent relationships. They were surprised at the large numbers of women who needed help to escape from a violent partner. Usually the women who came for help had children.
Soon there were other volunteers working with the Women’s Refuge. They helped women with many problems – finding a new place to live, getting financial help and getting help with legal matters.
The service has grown over the years and other cities in New Zealand now have safe houses. However, now the Christchurch Women’s Refuge has changed its name to Aviva Family Violence Services. Now the organisation works with men as well as women to stop violence. Aviva believes that everyone, with the right support, can overcome family violence. The 24-hour phone number is 0800 AVIVA NOW.
Aviva has a street appeal next Friday and Saturday to raise money for the work it does. This date is close to the International Day of the Family (May 16th in New Zealand).
Note that Shakti is an organisation to support migrant women. Shakti has four safe houses in New Zealand for migrant women who need to escape from domestic violence. The 24-hour phone number is 0800 SHAKTI.
• violent relationship – domestic abuse
• refuge – a safe place
• overcome – stop the violence
• street appeal – standing on the street with donation boxes