Nelson Women’s Refuge has seen an increase in women using Facebook to reach out for help.
July is the national Women’s Refuge awareness month, and this week is the Nelson Women and Children’s Refuge annual campaign to raise funds.
The awareness month theme is based on being smart with technology.
Manager for the Nelson refuge, Katie O’Donnell said technology meant women had multiple ways to reach out for help.
“What we have found in recent times, just like cyber bullying is that women can be harassed, stalked, bullied, threatened via social media via their cellphones, but also women can use technology to keep themselves safe in terms of alerting friends, having police on speed dial having us on speed dial, being able block people from getting access to their computer and phones,” she said.
She said the refuge would be releasing information about new innovations that would make it easier for women to reach out for help without being found out by a controlling partner.
While women could confidently call the refuge crisis and support line (0800 refuge) anytime, “in this modern world, having ‘other’ ways to achieve this is important…We are noticing an increase in women using Facebook to seek help,” O’Donnell said.
Women’s Refuge was coming to terms with the growing use of social media to reach out for help.
“The one issue with Facebook is that a message may not be acted on as quickly as an approach via our website or crisis phone line, but women must know they can always ask for help.”
Women could also go to the womensrefuge.org.nz website to ask for help via an on-line form.
he Nelson refuge would be fundraising on the streets of Nelson and Richmond this week.
The appeal was as much about raising awareness as it was getting extra funding.
When they were out collecting, they would find people wanted to stop and talk, and get advice or contact numbers to pass on to people they knew, O’Donnell said.
This year the local refuge reached out for assistance after it found it was about $80,000 short of what it needed.
They managed to get about $50,000 of that through donations and funding grants.
In the last financial year the Nelson Women’s Refuge dealt with 182 clients, on top of this it had 80 women for its counselling service and about 40 children for its programmes.
In its safe house it had 39 women and 19 children totalling 1673 bed nights.