Safety in phone numbers . . . The Zonta Club of Oamaru secretary Andrea Armstrong says placing the posters in cubicles offers privacy to those needing help. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

A public restroom does not have to be a place to just use the toilet or wash your hands.

In conjunction with Safer Waitaki, the Zonta Club of Oamaru has launched a campaign to help women who are affected by violence to find support.

As part of a national initiative, the local group has been distributing posters with a list of support services women can contact.

They have been doing so in an unlikely place – inside the doors of public toilet cubicles.

Zonta Club of Oamaru fundraising chairwoman Jill Bayley said the toilets were public places that offered refuge.

“It’s the only space a woman can go where a man won’t follow her,” Mrs Bayley said.

From Kurow to Palmerston, Zonta’s 25 members were placing 300 posters across the Waitaki district.

They would go anywhere women were likely to go, such as swimming pools, restaurants, hotels and cafes.

“It’s been really well supported by the community,” she said.

Maurice Ireland, of MJ Ireland Signs, printed the posters for free.

Although there were no local support services on the posters, Mrs Bayley said each support service listed had 24-hour contact via phone or text. Local services were not always open and the closest Women’s Refuge was in Timaru, she said.

“We wanted ones that always had someone at the end of the phone.”

First response supporters who could help people with their next steps were important, she said.

There were “so many people out there needing support” and the posters were the Zonta Club of Oamaru’s way of helping.

“It’s a small thing, but something we can do.”

Any business interested in having posters displayed should email the club at