Aviva is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
Last year, the staff of Aviva and their volunteers supported 1224 children, young people and adults from across Canterbury. They responded to 4066 phone calls to the emergency line they supply.
The staff at Aviva provide continual support to children and families. Over the past few weeks, Aviva staff member Sofia has been tirelessly working to make sure families are safe in lockdown. “I organize and plan groups at Aviva. Being a coordinator and sometimes facilitator of the groups, I am able to see the transformation the participants have from when they first attended the group sessions to when they finally complete the programme. And Aviva is a part of that journey walking alongside with them.” Sofia, originally coming to New Zealand to study psychology found she loved watching individuals grow as they come to Aviva.
“I want people to know that what we do is important and very needed, be it in lockdown or not in lockdown,” she says. “The families that we work with, they are the families that need our support. They want to overcome violence, they want to work on their relationships, they want to lead a safe life. It’s just that they need that support, and we are here with that support. We will be supporting them every day and, in every way, possible.”
Aviva supports people of any age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation who:
- use (or are at risk of using) violence
- are experiencing, or have experienced family violence
- have experienced recent or historic sexual assault/rape
- are concerned about someone else who may be at risk of violence or using violence
Aviva values relationships, integrity and social justice. They offer a walk in service in which every single person who walks through their door is heard. Over the level 4 lockdown in New Zealand, demand for their service increased by 150%. They did not want to leave anyone left unheard so they expanded their waiting list and made sure to use the help of their team to provide support to their community.
Covid-19 left many people uncertain and apprehensive to future events. For Cayden Hays, his wife, and their three children, living with family violence was not new to them, and going into Level 4 lockdown only made the situation more intense. “There were five of us living in one bedroom. Having the lockdown meant we had to be at home 24/7. It sort of heightened everything.” One specific evening after an incident of violence, Cayden reached out to Aviva for help. Within a few hours their support worker, Sofia, had organised emergency accommodation for the whole family and coordinated with SPCA to take the pets. “It was good to know the next few days were sorted, and we could just relax,” said Cayden.
Even after lockdown, Aviva staff are working tirelessly to support people like the Hays to stay safe. “All under lockdown, they made it all happen. We absolutely felt supported,” Cayden said.
*Cayden is not his real name.
* We would like to thank 3M New Zealand for donating to Aviva. This support means Aviva can look towards hiring some more staff members to have an even bigger impact in their community. Thank you 3M New Zealand.