Domestic violence increases


Women’s Refuge have dealt with a high number of domestic violence cases in North Otago over the holiday period and the organisation expects the problem to increase before school starts.

Financial stresses, extended families and travel during Christmas and New Year as well as the few weeks before school often lead to an increase in violence cases for agencies such as Women’s Refuge.

Mid South Island Women’s Refuge and Family Safety Services manager Dawn Rangi-Smith said case workers had received a higher-than-usual number of domestic violence cases from North Otago recently.

“We have been busy this holiday period in the North Otago area.”

With more family around at this time of year people needed to be aware of the dynamics and learn how to manage situations, she said.

They expected to get more cases from North Otago in the next few weeks as nerves started to become rattled before the school year, Ms Rangi-Smith said.

Money was often scarce before term one and children started to get bored, adding more stress to family life and potentially leading to domestic violence incidents.

Anyone who might be, or know someone, suffering from domestic abuse should get help. There were many services available in the Waitaki region including Women’s Refuge, which has a safe house in Timaru, Child Youth and Family and Victim Support, Ms Rangi-Smith said.

“There’s help out there for you.

“We’re only a phone call away.”

North Otago Budget Advisory Service also expected to be receiving more clients before the school year because of financial stress, co-ordinator Marge Giles said.

Many people came in before their child started primary or secondary school because they did not know what to expect with costs, she said.

Oamaru police had been called to at least four domestic violence incidents since January 11.

Acting Sergeant Carl Pedersen said they often received an increase in these incidents at this time of year because of financial demands, alcohol, stresses from extended family and travel.

Oamaru police Senior sergeant Jason McCoy had previously said that people needed to learn how to manage tension during the stressful holiday period.

With tension arising because of financial stress or everyone being home together it was important for people to handle it in the right way, he said.

A 33-year-old Oamaru man was arrested and charged with assault following an incident on January 11.

A 26-year-old Oamaru woman was arrested and charged with assault following an incident on January 12.

A 33-year-old Lower Hutt man was arrested and charged with male assaults female on January 13.

A 17-year-old Waimate man was arrested and charged with male assaults female on January 14.

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