About Us

Our story

Not so long ago, family violence was something many people pretended did not exist. As late as the 1970’s, women escaping violent family lives had no support from the law and no access to benefits or community agencies. At that time, society turned a blind eye to family violence. There certainly wasn’t the range of support available now.

In 1976, a group of a small group of women got together to do something about it. They started the Battered Women’s Support Group – a non-profit, voluntary telephone support group to support others in similar situations to themselves.

“We’re proud that each year, we support hundreds of women and children move towards safety.”

That group became one of the original 11 refuges which collaborated in 1979 to set up a national association of independent refuges. Their goal was to increase public understanding of the causes and effects of family violence through research, publication of books and papers on the issue.

The Group was a non-profit, voluntary agency, which re-formed in 1985 as the Battered Women’s Trust and the declaration of the trust was formalised in 1986.

From that initial group in 1976, we have evolved to offer a range of advocacy and education services as well as rural, safe housing, transitional housing and a 24-hour crisis line, plus more.

What sets us apart

Battered Women’s Trust remain one of the only refuges in the Canterbury region providing long-term and on-going support groups for women and their children after they leave refuge. This includes access to free internal counselling sessions. 

We offer a full range of support services across the life-cycle of a family violence journey. Our niche is in crisis response via our 0800 crisis line, which allows for immediate contact.  

Our safe house provides secure, safe, emergency accommodation for women, and their tamariki, in Christchurch.  We also use alternative accommodation, when necessary to better meet clients’ needs. 

We are the only providers with a specific service designed to offer accommodation for a female bound person of a Police Safety Order (PSO).   

Battered Women’s Trust has been part of a collaborative approach to family violence through providing a cooperative approach to services for a long time. Originally through co-ordination of the Family Violence Inter Agency Response System (FVIARS) in Canterbury to bring agencies together to support women and children in need.  

Through a Family Safety Team (FST) based in a Police station, working alongside Police.  

Now through the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) system to provide co-ordinated services and support with other professionals to ensure that a safety plan is initiated and completed with the purpose of achieving sustainable safety. Battered Women’s Trust plays an integral part of the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) system in Christchurch as a Lead Provider for the Canterbury Whanau Safety Services Collaboration. ISR has been implemented to ensure that both Victims and Perpetrators named on a Police family violence report receive support.  

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