Women's Refuge centres across the country have been inundated over the holiday period.
Chief executive Ang Jury says there was a significant increase in the number of women and children seeking help.
She says the holiday period can be particularly tense for a lot of families.
"It's also a period in the year where there's a hell of a lot more call on finances, there's a lot more alcohol consumed - all of the stresses come together."
Dr Jury says there needs to be a change in behaviour to reduce the number of women in need.
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A new centre in Tauranga had to find alternative emergency accommodation as beds filled up.
"It was busy across the holiday period - some refuges were full, some were not quite so full. None were empty, as far as I'm aware."
Dr Jury says the high volume of women in need of shelter comes as no surprise, with the current housing crisis.
"It was up… probably more than a little bit on last year. That's not really unexpected really, when you look at the housing situation we've got."
Dr Jury says harmful behaviour needs to be addressed to reduce the number of women seeking help.
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