Family violence for ethnic communities
Family violence affects people from all backgrounds and cultures. Anyone can be a victim of family violence regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, caste, sexual orientation, immigration or economic status.
In New Zealand, family violence is a crime. It is against the law for anyone to physically, verbally, sexually, or psychologically control or become violent towards another person. This includes children experiencing, seeing, or hearing these kinds of violence. It doesn’t matter if it happens once, or many times. It is never okay to feel scared or hurt by people close to you.
Family violence can cause harm to you and your children, and it’s important to be able to identify if something isn’t right within your relationships and know where to safely seek support.
You can experience family violence from:
- Your partner or spouse (including your ex)
- your teenage or adult children (including from those who may not be your own biological children)
- your parents, or parents-in-law (including guardians)
- Extended family (including grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, or anyone else within your wider family)
To find out more about family violence and types of abuse, see What is family violence?
Victims of Family Violence Work Visa
You can apply for a high-priority, six-month work visa if you are in a violent situation or have experienced family violence.
- You can apply for this visa if you have experienced family violence and your partner was a New Zealand citizen or resident.
- You can apply for this visa if you hold a partnership-based visa with another temporary migrant. For example, if you hold a ‘Partner of a Worker’ Work Visa or a ‘Partner of a Student’ Visitor Visa.
- You cannot include dependent children in your visa application, but they can apply for visas based on their relationship to you.
Reporting family violence doesn’t mean you will lose access to your children, or have to leave New Zealand.
You can find out more about the criteria and how to apply for the visa on the Immigration NZ website. If you do decide to apply, a social worker or local community organisation can assist you with the application process.
Talk to someone
If you’re worried about violence in the home, or within your relationship, reach out to someone who will support and listen to you.
It’s normal to worry about what will happen if you tell someone. Your safety, and the safety of your children and family, is the most important thing to consider.
If you feel comfortable, tell a trusted friend, family member, or community member who will:
- Talk with you about what you want to do
- Support you to find information that can help you to make choices that are right for you
If you do not feel comfortable telling someone you know, there are professional services that can help.
Find support services
If you need help now, there are organisations that can support you to stay safe.
Browse the Ethnic Communities Directory to find services near you.
Connecting with your community can be a great source of support. You can also engage services in other areas if you are concerned about people in your community knowing.
Call a helpline
- 0800 SHAKTI (0800 742 584) offer 24/7 multi-language support for women in crisis, or in need of urgent information or a safe house
- 0800 456 450 offers 24/7 family violence advice and support. You can also use the chat online function on this website to talk to someone now.
- 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843) offer 24/7 crisis support, advocacy and safe accommodation for women and children experiencing family violence.
Police and the courts can issue different kinds of orders to protect you from an abusive person. You can find out about how Protection Orders, Police Safety Orders and Trespass Notices work on this page.
Police Ethnic Liaison Officers can offer support to people from ethnic communities. Find your local Ethnic Liaison Officers on the Police website.
If you’re a New Zealand citizen or resident, you can get financial help through Work and Income NZ. Even if you aren’t a citizen or resident, you may still be able to access some financial help. Ask a social worker or friend to help you contact them on 0800 559 009.
Refugees can get financial help as soon as you arrive in New Zealand. Asylum seekers can get financial help once Immigration NZ has sent a letter out recognising your application for asylum.
Community Law provide free legal help throughout New Zealand. Find a free advice clinic here.
If you need help to pay for a lawyer and your legal fees you can call 0800 2 LEGAL AID (0800 253 425) or find more information on legal aid here.
You don’t have to live in New Zealand permanently or be a New Zealand citizen to be eligible for legal aid. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to pay back some or all of the legal aid.
Support for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in New Zealand
- Immigration New Zealand has information for new migrants to help you settle and work in New Zealand.
- The New Zealand Red Cross provide settlement support for refugees in eight towns around New Zealand. The Red Cross will connect you to services, agencies and organisations that can help you.
- Asylum Seekers Support Trust provides asylum seekers with access to information, services, and resources to help people as they apply for refugee status, and after it has been granted.
- Shama Ethnic Women’s Trust can provide support for sexual harm nationwide.
You can email email@example.com or call (07) 843 3810.
- Diversity Counselling New Zealand provides culturally responsive, professional counselling services nationwide in more than 22 languages. You can contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 143 269.
Websites for support LGBTQIA+ people within ethnic communities
- Adhikaar Aotearoa provide education, advocacy, and support for LGBTQIA+ people of colour, particularly South Asians, in New Zealand. You can visit their website here.
- Rainbow path supports LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers and refugees by providing information and links to Rainbow-friendly services. Connect with them here.