Coronavirus: Domestic violence victim speaks out about toll of lockdown

A domestic violence victim has spoken of her stress after spending five weeks in lockdown in an aggressive relationship, as it's revealed many have been unable to reach out for help during alert level 4.

In the first few days of the coronavirus lockdown alone, police said there was a 24 percent spike in family harm. Although protection order applications halved, experts say those numbers don't reflect reality.

One woman has highlighted why some victims can't wait to get out of lockdown.

"It was his family's house - we were just like in a room, you know that was our area and it was always behind closed doors," said the woman, who The Project is naming as "Tania" to protect her identity.

"That's the worst he's ever beaten me up. I had to go into [the] hospital to get it checked out. 

"It was just mainly my head because I blacked out."

For women in abusive relationships, there is a trigger event - it might be losing a job, access and custody problems, or something bigger.

New Zealand has seen it before - the Christchurch earthquake and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis piled on another layer of stress and risk.

Karis Vesey of Women's Refuge told The Project people have been unable to make contact with them during the lockdown.

"They're in the same room, same house as the perpetrator," she said.

"We had someone leave their abusive partner and go to their family and their family wouldn't let them in because they weren't in their bubble."

Where to find help and support: 

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584