A woman holding her child with greenery and sunlight behind them. The woman has her eyes closed and is smiling.

Introducing Our NZ Impact Partner, Women’s Refuge

Imagine living in a constant state of fear, not knowing when the next confrontation will come or where you will find a safe place to stay. This is the reality for thousands of women and children in New Zealand who are affected by family violence.

Women’s Refuge NZ are the largest organisation in New Zealand that help women and children experiencing family violence. Their vision is for all women and children in New Zealand to live free from family violence.

We caught up for a chat with Casey Scott, their Fundraising & Partnership Advisor, at the end of 2022 to learn more about Women’s Refuge, the work they do and how our donations are helping to support vulnerable and at-risk women and children.

Women’s Refuge offer safety for women and children in NZ

Women’s Refuge is made up of a collective of 40 independent refuges situated throughout New Zealand, each with multiple safe houses.

They provide a complete wraparound service for women and children who have been affected by any form of family violence, which extends beyond physical violence and isn’t just there for when people reach crisis point.

‘We want people to realise,’ says Casey, ‘that we’re not the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We’re a service that you come to when you’re just not sure, when you have an inkling in the back of your mind that maybe something’s not right. Then you can chat to us about it.’

On average, Women’s Refuge NZ care for over 50,000 women and children each year.

Family violence happens everywhere, not just in low socio-economic areas, but also in more affluent areas. It can be more difficult to detect in some areas because of the financial burden and people’s ability to hide it or make it appear as though everything is okay.

When someone does finally seek support and arrives at a refuge, they are met by advocates who are there to help them with whatever they need. This includes things like:

  • Gaining protection orders,
  • Assisting with child custody issues,
  • Assisting with statements to police,
  • Budgeting advice,
  • Providing counselling,
  • Providing education and support groups for women and children about living violence free lives,

and more.

The teams at the 40 independent refuges go out of their way to offer support from all angles so that the women and children escaping family violence are safe and can access whatever they need.

How Give Back Health donations are supporting women and children in New Zealand

When you’re in a critical or unsafe situation – particularly when you’re also looking after children –you’re unlikely to think about looking after yourself. The key thing is getting your children to a place of safety, and your own needs are often pushed aside.

For so many reasons, things like taking supplements, vitamins and such like are simply not going to be prioritised.

Women’s Refuge are one of our impact partners. Since late 2021 (when we first partnered with Women’s Refuge) we’ve made several donations of Immunity Plus and VIT D3 Restore. These donations go directly to Women’s Refuge refuges across New Zealand and are given out to their clients.

Each shipment of therapeutic nutritional supplements that we send to them is met with such positive feedback. ‘Every time I send an email to one of the refuges to say you’ve got some vitamins on the way,’ says Casey, ‘They all come back and they’re like, ‘this is fantastic.’

‘To be able to offer them something like this is just amazing for them, and sometimes completely life changing. You need to look after number one to be able to look after everybody else.’

Funding, fundraising and how YOU can support Women’s Refuge

While we’ve contributed by donating therapeutic nutritional products, where Women’s Refuge most need support is through raising funds for their ongoing work.

60% of funding comes from government and government contracts with MSD (Minister of Social Development), the remaining 40% is down to fundraising, and in any given year, Women’s Refuge need to fundraise at least $1.2 million.

As a charity domestic violence, it’s not the easiest of areas to discuss and promote. But when people are able to rally around to help them in grant applications, community events and community fundraiser – as many amazing supporters already do – then the magic can start to happen.

And more women and children can be supported through times of crisis.

Ways to get involved today

1.   Make a donation

Visit https://womensrefuge.org.nz/make-a-donation (or click the Donate button at the top right of their website). Their website is full of useful information to help anyone who needs it.

2.   Collect donations from clients/customers

If you run a shop, clinic or other service-based business, consider displaying a donation box on your counter for people to donate their spare change. Contact fundraising@refuge.org.nz to get a box sent to you.

What to do if you need support in NZ

If you live in New Zealand and have a feeling that there’s something going and sense that you may be in unsafe situation, visit the Women’s Refuge website, https://womensrefuge.org.nz, to find all the information that you need and understand next steps.

If you’re a friend of someone who is in difficult or dangerous situation, have a look through the website and reach out to one of the refuges listed on the website.

‘You don’t have to be at the point where you need to leave your home and your things to come to us,’ says Casey. ‘The housing crisis, the struggle, the financial side of things, these things have always been and will always be burdens to everybody. We just want people to know that we’re here to support them.’

If your situation is urgent, call the free Women’s Refuge NZ crisis line on

  • 0800 REFUGE or
  • 0800 733 843

or phone 111.

Find out more about Women’s Refuge NZ at https://womensrefuge.org.nz.

Feel good. Give back.

DISCLAIMER: We recommend speaking with a registered medical practitioner before taking any supplements or vitamins to ensure you don’t encounter any adverse effects or clashes with current medications you may be taking.