Common questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about the family violence and sexual violence services Family Action provides.


How Much Will it Cost?

All of our services are free. However, we are only partially funded so if you would like to donate, please click here.

Is it confidential?

Your confidentiality is very important to us. All support is confidential.

There are some limits to confidentiality, for example, we will report the risk of harm to you or others.  We will keep you informed if this does need to happen. We will talk to you about confidentiality at the start of your support and you will be able to ask any questions then.

Can I get support if I’m not the person who was injured?

Our supports are for all victim-survivors of family harm, sexual harm, abuse, and trauma. This includes people who have witnessed the harm, or who are supporting whānau members who have experienced harm. If we are unable to offer support to you, we will connect you with the right services that can cater to your needs.


What happens when I decide to go to counselling?

We will ask you to complete a referral form. The referral form can be completed on our website, on the phone, or in person.

When we receive your referral, we will contact you

There will be an initial appointment where you will meet on of our team to discuss your needs and hopes for counselling. If the referral is for a child, we talk to parents/guardians and the child together to learn the background to the family and to understand any areas of concern.  

The next steps will be explained to you during this appointment.

What is ACC Sensitive Claims?

ACC Sensitive Claims is ACC funded support following sexual abuse or assault. You can have one-to-one sessions with an ACC approved therapist.

The number of sessions you receive depends on your needs. If you like, your family and whanau can also access some sessions. Learn More

What are Ministry of Justice Safety Programmes?

The Safety Programme is a free programme for people who have experienced family violence.  There is a programme for adults and a programme for children.  The programme aims to help understand the impact of violence, learn coping strategies and start to move forward with your life.  

The programme can be done in individual counselling or as a whānau.

The safety programmes are for people who have a protection order through the family court.  

We will explain how to keep safe and provide practical information about how Protection Orders work. Learn More

Women's Refuge

What is Women’s Refuge?

Our women’s refuge is a home where you can be safe. You will pay a contribution towards your and your children’s accommodation and provide your own food etc. We will help you by creating a safety plan with you, making a plan to live free from violence, and advocate on your behalf to access budgeting assistance, housing etc. You will have access to Family Action staff 7 days per week, excluding public holidays.

How much will being in refuge cost me?

This will depend on your circumstances, but we will always provide assistance to access benefits you may be entitled to. Your ability to pay a contribution will not be a barrier to your safety.

How long will I be in the refuge?

You can stay for anything from one day up to three months, depending on your needs. Our advocate will work with you to create a plan and help you access housing, legal and budgeting help.

Can I tell people I am in refuge?

The less people who know where you are, the safer you will be. You must not tell anyone the address of the women’s refuge, both for your safety and the safety of the other women staying in the home. Being in refuge does not stop you from seeing your loved ones outside of our refuge space, so you can continue to get support from those close to you.

Family Harm

Do I need to report my situation to the police?

For some, making this complaint can be a really important part of healing from what happened, and starting to feel safe again. It is entirely up to you whether you want to report to the police. We will explain your options and support you whatever decision you make.

Can I still get support if I want to stay in my relationship?

We will offer you support regardless of your decision to leave or stay in a relationship. We will explain your options, and support you in whatever decision you make. We will make a safety plan with you that takes into account your individual circumstances.

What is a protection order?

A Protection Order is a legal document to protect you (the applicant), your children, and anyone else named on it.

The person named on it (respondent) must not go to your house, neighbourhood or workplace.

They must not follow you or contact you nor the children named in the order in any way, including texts, calls and social media, unless specific arrangements have been made and you agree.

They may not encourage anyone else to harass, intimidate or assault you. They must surrender firearms to the Police and are usually directed to attend a ‘stopping violence programme’ by the Court.

As the applicant, you and your children will be offered to attend a free safety programme which help you plan for safety and help you process what has happened to you.

Learn more.

What should I do if someone lets me know they are in an abusive relationship?

If you are worried about someone’s immediate safety, call 111

Listen and try to understand – it is important not to blame them. Let them know they are not alone and that there are many people like them in the same situation. 

Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk to them about experiencing abuse. Give them time to talk, but don’t push them to go into too much.  It is important to allow them to make their own decisions and not pressure them to leave the relationship if they are not ready to do this.

If they have suffered physical harm, offer to go with them to a hospital or to see a GP.

Help them to report the assault to the police or contact a support agency like Family Action if they choose to do so. 

Offer your friend the use of your address and/or telephone number to leave information and messages and tell them you will look after an emergency bag. 

Look after yourself while you are supporting someone through such a difficult and emotional time. Ensure that you do not put yourself into a dangerous situation; for example, do not offer to talk to the perpetrator about your friend or let yourself be seen as a threat to their relationship. 

Sexual Harm

What happens if I contact the Police?

If you decide to do this, you can either call or go into your local Police station. If it’s an emergency situation where you’re in immediate danger, or you have injuries that need immediate attention, call 111.

Initially the Police will want you to briefly outline what happened to you. They may suggest you need a forensic medical and help you to access this. They will discuss with you what will happen next and the processes around evidence.

Soon after, you may be asked to do a formal interview.  If you’re under 18, this is likely to be with specialist interviewers at Puawaitahi, the Police child protection agency.  If you are aged 18 or over, this is likely to be with a detective at a Police station, with a crisis support worker there to assist you.

Can I get support if my child has experienced sexual harm?

Yes - we can offer a range of supports to you and your whānau. We also run information sessions for parents/caregivers of children who have experienced sexual harm.

Supporting Victim-Survivors

Family Action provides confidential support in West Auckland for all victim-survivors of family harm, sexual harm, abuse, or trauma. Your experiences may be historical or current. We will provide support to you and your family/whānau.

a person reaching for something in the water

Are you in an abusive relationship?

Are you concerned about your relationship? Abusive behaviours can be physical actions or they can be more subtle. It can be saying things to you or feeling forced to do something because you’re fearful of their reaction.

Take an anonymous online test to check how your partner or ex’s actions impact you.

Take the test