Charity Shine urges those in danger to pop COVID-19 bubble amid escalation in domestic violence during lockdown

A domestic violence charity has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of family harm during lockdown.

Shine says it is in response to an escalation of domestic violence and abuse in the past month.

The organisation's bright orange billboards have sprung up around the country, from Auckland to Christchurch, reminding people help is available no matter what alert level they're in.

"In lockdown, what we see is a huge escalation in the violence we see and the complexity of the situations," says Shine spokesperson Holly Carrington.

In last year's lockdown, family harm investigations spiked 30 percent in April 2020 - a trend that hasn't gone away.

"That's never stopped. There's never been a slow down, and then it's just escalated again in this latest lockdown," Carrington explains.

So family harm incidents are still increasing: 3.9 percent in the first week of this year's lockdown, and 6.2 percent in week two. Numbers then fell, coinciding with most of the country moving to level 3.

Women's Refuge saw a spike in cases at the end of lockdown last year, and is worried it could happen again in Auckland.

"We are really just preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," says CEO Dr Ang Jury. "We do worry about it, but it's a feature of lockdown."

Police declined Newshub's request for an interview, but said in a statement family harm incidents are typically underreported and in the current situation, it may be more difficult for some victims to ask them for help.

"If you're unsafe at home then leave - you're not going to be arrested, you're not going to get prosecuted, fined or anything," says Dr Jury.

"We've just heard the most horrendous situations. The thing that's most heartbreaking is just how hard it is for people during lockdown to get help," says Carrington.

The charity is urging people to call for help, and pop their bubble if needed.

Where to find help and support: