There are concerns about the safety of Women's Refuge staff members who have to use their own cars to transport victims of domestic violence because of a lack of vehicles.
Palmerston North Women's Refuge manager Ang Jury said yesterday the agency had used a 12-month leased car sponsored by Toyota, but the car had to be returned last week when the lease ended.
"We used it for picking up women and taking them to appointments, and everything we need to run the service," she said. "It was out and about all the time."
Dr Jury said the Palmerston North office was also supporting the office in Levin, and the lack of vehicles meant the staff member there, like the Palmerston North staff, was using her private car.
"Using their own cars is dangerous because we never know who is going to identify a car, and it is so easy to identify a car."
She said there was a danger that a client's abusive partner would see her with a refuge staff member and find car ownership details.
"Staff shouldn't have to use their car for anything. And having to pay mileage is putting more stress on the budget."
She said the Women's Refuge had had another car, but it had recently failed when it went in for its warrant of fitness, and it was unlikely that it could be made roadworthy.
"It was an older vehicle, and I don't know how it got its warrant before.
"The safety concern is the main thing. Heaven forbid that anything should happen," she said.
- Manawatu Standard
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