New Auckland-based charity helping survivors escaping domestic abuse

A new Auckland-based charity wants to shine a light on what happens in the aftermath of escaping family violence.

Charity Woven Earth kits out the empty homes for people displaced by domestic abuse, removing the financial and emotional pressures of starting a new life.

Imagine this: after living with an abusive partner, you finally get the courage to leave. You find a new house but there's no fridge, couch, lamp or coffee table to fill it. Then what?

"A lot of people flee and they flee with nothing," says Woven Earth founder Kerryn Thrupp.

Thrupp was one of them. After experiencing family violence in Australia she had to rely on the kindness and donations of others.

"That sort of practical support just gave me hope that we were going to get out of this situation," she says.

And now she's giving hope to other Kiwis like her by filling empty houses with everything from furniture and food to pots, pans, toys and toiletries.

"One family we did, the little girl was that morning crying to her mum that 'this is just a box and it's not a home' but by the time she came home that day it was a home," she says.

Everything is donated and everything has a back story. Like a toy kitchen from a family in Hobsonville or a lace Christmas tree made by a knitting group on the Hibiscus Coast.

Island Child Charitable Trust is one of the many housing agencies Woven Earth works with.

"You should see the faces glowing of gratitude and happiness," says Island Child Charitable Trust manager Danielle Bergin.

"It really has filled a gap that New Zealand has needed for a long time."

And so far it has helped 103 families - or as Thrupp likes to say more than 300 lives.

Two of them are 'Sarah' and her seven-year-old son. After eight years with an abusive partner she packed a bag and went.

"I just thought I don't know what is going to happen but I knew in my heart I had to leave," she says.

"And then the worry that I had was I was starting my life from scratch and I don't have enough money and what am I gonna do?"

She spent time in a refuge in June and then Woven Earth helped her to start a new life. They kitted out a home with her favourite things and even food from her home country.

"And I sat in my son's room and cried because it was full of toys and books and it was actually like so full of love," Sarah says.

Thrupp says it's not just basics. She also ticks off wishlists, and hopes her efforts will shine a light on the aftermath of abuse.

"My big thing is that I say it's so critical that we speak out about family violence absolutely but my big thing is then what?" she says.

And for the mother and daughter about to move in they're decorating a new Christmas tree in a house that's now their home.