Here’s hoping for Silent nights this Christmas!

kiwi christmas

As Christmas approaches us and Refuge services are in demand right across the Auckland region and indeed throughout the country, Eastern Refuge want to remind all of our whanau to have a safe and violence free festive season.

Family violence doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas.

Children still feel unsafe in their own homes.

Women still seek Refuge.

Recently the UN released global statistics on the prevalence of violence against women.  That report, released in June 2013 states that 1 in 3 women globally will or has experienced some form of physical, psychological or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

That included Aotearoa New Zealand.

This included our women, our daughters, our sisters and our wives, girlfriends and partners.

And this isn’t good enough.

Not for a progressive country. Not for a country that has the inclusive foresight to legalize gay marriage and embrace diversity, yet we can’t treat our women with the love and respect they deserve. What does that say about the real state of our nation?

This Christmas we are asking everyone to look out for one another.

This Christmas we are asking the community to be proactive.

If you are concerned about the safety of women and children, make a call.  Seek some advice and let’s wrap safety plans around our whanau so they can at least feel safe this Christmas.

Step up.  If you see behaviour that isn’t respectful, name it. Don’t be afraid to point out abusive behaviours and don’t be afraid to make it clear that there are alternatives and agencies out there to help whanau find their way through.

Awhi atu, awhi mai. Be supportive. But don’t collude. Violence is never acceptable. And you never know, your honesty could be that turning point to someone making the decision to change?

Don’t be afraid to call the Police.

Perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable for their behaviours and turning a blind eye isn’t going to keep women and children safe. In fact, it could put them in greater danger.

Sometimes we forget that Christmas isn’t always the idealized state of affairs we see on our Christmas cards.  Christmas is often a dangerous, sad and difficult time for many families.

Let’s all work together to ensure it is safe, supported and that no woman or child has to feel unsafe this Christmas.

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