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URGENT! Abuse happening right now!


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Good morning John,

This is very kind of you (which I've now come to accept) to look into this situation in NZ. NZ laws are very similar to us (they are derived from English Law) and according to their laws, the following people are covered under the protection from abuse laws:

  • married couples
  • unmarried couples
  • gay and lesbian couples
  • children
  • family/whanau
  • anyone in a close personal relationship
  • flatmates or other people who share accommodation

The law also states that if she doesnt know what to do, she can go directly to the Family Court (all she has to do is show up and talk to the policeman outside the courts), or go directly to the the Police, the Children and Young Persons' Service, Women's Refuge, Stopping Violence Services, any lawyer, Victim Support, and many other government and community organizations.

If she is too young and feels overwhelmed, she can apply for Protection Orders (with the help of an adult). Her nearest Family Court, Community Law Centre, Children and Young Persons' Service office, social worker or guidance counselor can help. Once she files, the family is reached within an hour or hours and after they are interviewed, the judge will issue such an order the same day. She does not need to be present for the hearing and kids typically aren't, so the key is that the order be written in extremely clear, descriptive, concise, behavioral, measurable and concrete terms-- too many orders go by the wayside if they're poorly written or give too little detail.

In NZ, child abuse is taken extremely seriously... in the US, we talk of it being taken seriously but too many of our reports are never investigated or they are rebuffed unless a limb is missing, or there is severe bruising or the child is left homeless.

The biggest issue is to allege abuse, then none is found or there is little ground for reporting and she remains in the home--- the abuse typically becomes extremely severe now since the family feels immune. If no abuse is found, my recommendation would be to admit herself at a woman's shelter and refuse to leave, this alone will raise serious questions about home life and trigger a second more serious investigation, but shelter staff will ask to go and sometimes may be permitted.

John, good luck to you and your young friend and I hope this helps.


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