Q:

She doesn't know what to do

Two days ago an ambulance arrived at the flat below ours. We went down to see if we could help and the husband indicated his wife was having a miscarriage. We offered to take the children, but he went with them and his wife to the hospital. 

Just spoke to the wife and she confided that he had beaten her, punched her in the head until she became unconscious. 

She is still pregnant (thank God). 

She doesn't know what to do. 

He told her he would kill her if she told anyone. 

Now she has told me, I don't know what to do. 

I asked her if she would leave him (it was not the first time), but she has emigrated here from overseas and her family don't know (she doesn't want to worry them). 

She has nobody else here but me, everyone else she knows is a relative of her husband. 

Where do I start?

 


A:

Hallo and thank you, thank you, thank you, for your concern for your neighbour, writing in and seeking help.

It is in these very situations that people like yourself find themselves in every day.

Being caught between a rock and a hard place and not knowing what to do, should I do anything? Am I being a busybody? It's none of my business? She's alright now?

I feel for you being put in that predicament and I believe a lot of New Zealanders are put in that position every day.

In fact more than 100,000 times a year according to the Police statistics, every 6-7 minutes they get a domestic violence call out.

People are making that decision and making the call to the Police.
This is a very serious situation that your neighbour is in:

1. An assault has taken place
2. An ambulance was called 
3. You have been informed on what has occurred on this and former situations
4. The life of the partner had been verbally threatened
5. The life of the unborn child has been at risk
6. The children are not safe.

This is a very serious situation.

Your neighbours are all at risk and your neighbour telling you is a call for help as she doesn't know what to do either.

It's OK to Ask for Help!

My advice is to ring the Police and explain the whole situation and let them do their job, there are Police family violence coordinators who are now trained in domestic violence and can advise you and support your neighbours.

The other help you can give to the family is to dial our information line on 0800 456 450 for the number for Women's Refuge and/or Shakti which is a domestic violence service for ethnic women.

Explain the situation to them, they will help and are trained in this area to make sure that the women and babies are safe.

They can also support you to support your neighbour. It would be good for her to know that you care and are available if she needs someone to talk to or someone to call the Police.

By doing this, inadvertently you will be helping the perpetrator get help.

He needs to know that what he is doing is family violence and that it is not ok! And that there is help there for him and with this help he can learn to be a safe man and have a safe family.

Men taking responsibility for their violence and abuse is slow in happening but it is happening.
Your concerns and positive actions will help to speed up that process.

Thank you again for writing in.

Vic

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