Abuse hotline, refuge busy
A domestic abuse crisis line is running hot in South Canterbury.
At least 14 women phoned the service in the past week, with some of them now being cared for through the South Canterbury Women's Refuge.
Refuge manager Dawn Rangi-Smith said the crisis line had been particularly busy since the week leading up to Christmas.
Its safe house was almost at capacity.
"We're 50 per cent busier than we were last year, just by the calls that came in."
While the service is always busy at this time of year, it was unusually busy in the week leading up to Christmas, she said. In many cases the women had decided to escape the abusive relationships they were in, she said.
"Obviously the relationship's not very good [and they think] I can't do this anymore, where am I going to go?"
However, not everyone fits the criteria for a bed at the safe house. The women need to be in "immediate danger" before they are considered, she said.
Mrs Rangi-Smith said the festive season was always a difficult time for many couples.
Often it was financial strain that caused tension, but this year even the weather was considered to be a contributing factor.
"It's a very stressful time for families at Christmas - even to take their children out is a cost to them and you can't take them to the beach in this weather."
On Sunday three domestic incidents were reported to Timaru police, with more recorded across the wider Mid-South Canterbury area.
- The Timaru Herald