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One in three women in New Zealand experience family violence.

Family violence against men is not routinely reported, therefore, there are no accurate statistics available, however it is our belief one in five men experience family violence.

On average 12 women, four men and nine children are killed as a result of family violence each year in New Zealand. Every four minutes the New Zealand Police attend a family violence incident.

At Family VIP Services, we work with Hawke’s Bay women, children and men to support them to live free from violence and abuse.

We are Here to Help

We are here to help you understand what you are experiencing and to support you to live a life free from violence and abuse.

We understand that in most cases people love and care for the person abusing them; they want the relationship but not the violence.

Sadly children are often present and witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of victims by their partner or ex-partner.

Men too can be victims of family violence and we are here to help. We can support anyone in the community and if we are not the right place for you, we have a list of agencies we network with and can refer you to.  Currently, we do not have a safe house for men, but we can listen, advise and support you on your journey to live free from violence and abuse.

Need Help Now?

Our 24/7 line is free to call from anywhere in New Zealand for information, advice and support about family violence as well as immediate help in a crisis. Follow the simple steps to be put through to your local refuge on your touchtone or mobile phone. You will be automatically redirected to an advocate in your region.

Call our 24 Hour Crisis/Support Line:

0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)

In an emergency please dial 111

How we Help

Safe House

Our safe houses, at confidential addresses, provide a place of safety for women and children who are experiencing family violence and are in an immediate need of a non-violent and supportive environment.

Women's Education

Our Women’s Education programme, Journey to Freedom, covers family violence, what it is and how it impacts on women and children, and it provides strategies to develop healthy relationships and goal setting.

Children's Education

Our Children’s Education programme, Tamariki Ora, is designed for children aged five to 12 years and covers what constitutes a family, how anger can be managed and helps children with strategies on how to stay safe.

Couples Education

Our education team are piloting a Couples Safety Education programme, aimed at couples wishing to make positive changes and provide a violence-free home for themselves and their children.

What is Family Violence?

Family Violence is violence used by someone who has a close personal relationship or emotional bond with the person they are abusing. The types of relationships include married couples, de facto couples, partners living apart, parent and child, siblings or flatmates. It is also the term used to describe child abuse and elder abuse in our community.

The central factor in determining family violence is fear. The violence forms a pattern of power and control which makes the people being abused fearful of physical or psychological harm. Violence is caused by the abuser’s attitudes and behaviours. Family violence is not about a bad relationship. Violence is not just getting angry. Abusers make the choice to use violence to get what they want and to assert control over the other person.  Family violence is never the fault of the victim and the victim has no ability to stop the violence.

Family violence is not always obvious. The tactics used might be invisible to someone outside the family, the behaviour might seem trivial or random, but together the tactics have the effect of manipulating and controlling, making the person being abused feel fearful.

Family violence has many negative effects. It can impact physical and emotional wellbeing, mental health, finances, relationships and friendships, employment, cultural connections and or religious beliefs.


Psychological Psychological violence is about behaviours that make you doubt yourself and feel like you are crazy. It involves mind-games, coercion, manipulation and control. Psychological violence includes:

  • Put downs/insults
  • Harming pets/animals
  • Harassing
  • Using degrading language
  • Criticism
  • Stalking
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Jealousy
  • Blaming victim for the abuse
  • Denying or minimising the abuse
  • Threats to leave the relationship or commit suicide if the victim does not cooperate

Psychologial violence:

  • Attacks your emotions and personality, rather than your body
  • Makes you feel like you're going mad, makes your frightened, or you feel like it's all your fault
  • Is the most common form of violence experienced by women and children we see at women's refuge
  • Is the worst kind of violence according to women who use refuge services. Is not recognised by many people because it is subtle, hidden, and manipulative.


Sexual assaults and abuse include:

  • Raping or forcing victim into unwanted sexual practices
  • Unwanted touching
  • Control over birth control
  • Forced pregnancies or abortions
  • Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • An adult having any sexual contact with a child under 16


Financial or economic abuse involves:

  • Forcing victim to hand over all/part of their salary
  • Denying access to own finances
  • Not letting the victim work or study
  • Forcing victim to go on a benefit illegally
  • Making victim beg for money
  • Not letting the victim have their name on the house or other shared property

Financial abuse can cause women and children to live in poverty, not being able to afford the basics and having lots of debt in their name. Women who are suffering financial abuse often can't rent a flat, get a loan, or receive power or phone services because previous bills were unpaid and because debts were taken out in their name. They may have a criminal record and fines after taking the blame for the abuser, and often have no access to money to enable them to leave the violent situation.


Spiritual violence includes:

  • Stopping you from expressing your spiritual or religious beliefs
  • Not letting you go to church/temple
  • Putting down or making fun of your whakapapa, beliefs, traditions, or culture
  • Forcing victim to follow a particular faith or give up their religion
  • Justifying their violence as religiously and spiritually acceptable

Spiritual abuse attacks your wairua or spirit. All kinds of abuse can leave you feeling soulless, empty and distant with no purpose in life, or no passion or joy. Abuse robs women and children of their mauri-ora or wellbeing. We recognise that people are suffering spiritual abuse when we say they are not grounded, there is no light in their eyes or they are not inside themselves.


Physical assaults and the threat of physical violence back up the power of psychological violence. Physical violence includes:

  • Punching/Hitting
  • Strangulation
  • Pinching
  • Kicking
  • Biting
  • Burning
  • Pushing
  • Hair pulling
  • Spitting
  • Urinating
  • Tying you up
  • Holding you down
  • Locking you away
  • Using a knife, gun, belt or any other kind of weapon

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