WDHB shows its support for Women's Refuge

22 July 2014
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is showing its support for this month’s Women’s Refuge awareness campaign by highlighting the services the refuge provides for women and families experiencing violence in their home.
WDHB violence intervention programme coordinator Barbara Charuk says beside the safe houses the Women’s Refuge provides, they also offer educational programmes, support services and information that can make all the difference for the women and children who turn to them for help.
“The Women’s Refuge provides a wonderful service which sadly many women and children living in the Whanganui district need at some point in their lives,” Mrs Charuk says.
“In the last year alone, our local Women’s Refuge received 1461 police incident reports relating to family violence and there were a significant number of children recorded on those police reports as having witnessed domestic violence. Another worrying statistic is 1243 contacts for advice and information regarding domestic violence which our Women’s Refuge received. We need to remember that this represents a lot of women and children in our district who are experiencing violence and who will feel its lasting effect for many years to come.”
But Mrs Charuk says it’s not only those directly affected by violence who the refuge helps. They also give advice to the family and friends of those affected because it’s widely recognised that family and friends are a vital part of the effort to support women and children who are feeling very frightened and vulnerable in their homes and relationships.
“I’m very proud and grateful that we (the WDHB) have a close working relationship with Women’s Refuge. They’re available 24/7 to support patients who disclose family violence when receiving treatment and staff who are concerned that there may be violence in the home of a patient they are treating.  I can’t speak highly enough of the work that they do.
“The WDHB views family violence as a very serious health issue. We are committed to trying to eradicate it from our community but until that happens we will continue to work with Women’s Refuge and we hope that Whanganui residents support their fundraising campaign generously.
“While they receive government funding, they rely heavily on their own fundraising efforts. They need money to enable them to provide more extensive specialist services to women and children affected in violence. It’s not just about what happens in the shelters. They do a tremendous amount of work to help families manage the violence that is happening in their home. This might include planning how to exit the home safely when it’s clear it’s no longer safe to remain there.”
Mrs Charuk says the WDHB plans to host static displays around Wanganui Hospital next week to educate the public and raise awareness about the work that Women’s Refuge does.