What to do if you’re in a violent relationship
Talk to someone
- speak to your Plunket nurse or GP. If it’s safe to do so, your Plunket nurse will ask you during your Plunket visits about your situation at home. They can help you get help, or PlunketLine can help refer you to help.
- It's not OK runs the Family Violence Information Line on 0800 456 450 free from any phone, 9am to 11pm every day.
- You can call Shine's domestic abuse hotline on 0800 744 633 from 9am to 11pm.
Go somewhere safe
- Women's Refuge offers urgent safe accommodation across NZ and can house women and children in danger. Call them on 0800 733 843.
Get Police protection
The Police can issue a Police Safety Order (PSO) for immediate, short-term protection for people at risk of domestic violence. They’re issued on the spot to force someone to leave an address, even if they normally live there or they own it. PSOs last up to 10 days. You can’t ask for a Police Safety Order – it’s up to the Police to issue it.
Get more permanent protection
A domestic violence service or the Family Court can help you get court orders to help keep you safe, including a protection order. You can apply for a Protection Order if you're in, or have been in, a close personal relationship with a person being violent towards you. Other orders can make sure you have access to your home and furniture, and arrange day-to-day care of children (with the need to keep the child safe from all kinds of violence most important.)
How to apply for a protection order
Paid domestic violence leave
If you, or a child in your care, are affected by domestic violence, you can ask your employer for paid domestic violence leave and flexible working arrangements.
It doesn’t matter if the violence happened before you started with your current employer, or before the law changed on 1 April 2019.
If you meet the employment criteria, you can:
- apply to take 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year
- ask for a short-term flexible working arrangement for up to 2 months.
You can also ask for paid domestic leave to support a child who has experienced domestic violence.
Find out more about paid domestic violence leave
If you’re living in or leaving a violent relationship, talk to Work and Income about how they can help you. They have specialist staff in each region who can help you.
This could include:
- financial help to get back on your feet - including benefit payments, help with accommodation costs, special needs grants and other assistance
- help to find somewhere to live - including information on housing options in your area and, if need be, an assessment for social housing
- referring you to other support services and agencies able to help you
- helping you prepare or look for suitable work, taking into account your circumstances and what’s appropriate for you.
Talk to them about your situation – the more they understand about what’s happening for you, the better they can help.
Call Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to make an appointment and say "Appointment".
Find out more about how WINZ can help you
If you’re a victim of a charge related to family violence in a criminal court, or you’ve applied for a Protection Order through the Family Court and are waiting for a decision, you can access free safety services. These are designed to help you deal with the effects of the violence, feel more confident and move forward with your life. They'll explain how to keep safe and provide practical information about how Protection Orders work. You can do it over the phone or face-to-face.
There are also courses especially for children, to help them understand the effects of any violence they've seen or experienced.
If you’d like a course for you or your children, talk to your lawyer or to court staff. They'll make sure you get access to the course nearest you.
Free safety services
What to do if you're violent
If you’re the perpetrator of domestic violence, get help now – you can change.
People who have stopped using violence say the hardest part is admitting they needed help to change their behaviour.
Changing your behaviour takes courage, but there services all over New Zealand that offer programmes and support for you to change.