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HealthInfo Canterbury

Family harm

Family harm affects many people’s lives. It includes family violence, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect and elder abuse.

When a family member is violent towards you, they can be violent in different ways. The violence might be physical, sexual, emotional or psychological.

If you're experiencing violence in your home, it can affect every aspect of your life. It can cause physical injuries and affect your mental wellbeing. You may feel scared and alone.

Abuse is never OK, and neither is feeling scared in your own home. If you're feeling scared or being abused, there are many people available to help you.

The first thing to do is to tell someone. This can be hard. Sometimes it’s easier to tell someone you don’t know. You could tell a friend, health professional, the police or a support agency.

The government has introduced new employment rights for people who have experienced family violence.


Phone 111 for the police if you're in immediate danger. Or see the list of support lines below for other local organisations that can help.

The following links offer help and resources for people who are affected by family violence, people whose violent behaviour is affecting others and people who are worried about friends and family.

Support for everyone

Support for women

Support for men

Support for the rainbow community

Women's Refuge Shielded Site project

The Women's Refuge has created a tool for victims of abuse to ask for help. You can use the tool without fear of it showing up in your browser’s history or an abusive partner ever seeing it.

The Women's Refuge shielded site logo is a circle with the left-hand half shaded in dark blue and the right-hand half white, with an outline drawing of a computer superimposed on it.The Women's Refuge Shielded Site icon is shown here. You'll see it on many New Zealand websites including this one. On HealthInfo, it's at the bottom of every page at the right-hand side of the footer.

When you see the icon, you can click it to bring up a shielded portal, through which you can contact the Women's Refuge, find out how to make a plan to safely get out of a dangerous situation, learn how to stay safe online and get answers to questions about what comes next.

For more information about the Shielded Site project, follow this link. Warning, this link will appear in your browser's history.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2019. Last updated May 2021.

See also:

Emotional & physical abuse

Referral & support agencies – assault

Page reference: 47976

Review key: HIFAM-47976