South Canterbury support . . . Mid South Canterbury Womens Refuge manager Dawn Rangi-Smith (front, centre) and staff (back from left) Courtney Palmer, Denise Arpel and Janet Lorimer, with (front, from left) Kura Smith-Caird and Trina Ramsay are preparing for the year ahead. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

The growing number of men seeking support from the Mid South Canterbury Women’s Refuge is pleasing, the refuge manager says.

Manager Dawn Rangi-Smith said the organisation was allowing men to attend their victims’ education programmes for the first time this year.

“The stigma, for a lack of a better word, is lifting.”

Mrs Rangi-Smith said while the organisation could not provide space in its safe house for men, several men had called the service or visited its Sarah St office for support.

“[They can be] victims as well.”

Some men accessing the refuge’s support had been abused themselves, while others had witnessed domestic violence towards their mothers, Mrs Rangi-Smith said.

She was also grateful that men had spontaneously turned up with donations of gifts or money before Christmas, along with the support from the wider community.

“That was quite enlightening.”

Mrs Rangi-Smith said while the refuge’s work had been “steady” over the Christmas-New Year period, she was expecting the organisation’s workload to increase in the coming weeks as stress of back-to-school costs worried parents.

She said things were “pretty quiet” at the refuge safe house, “which is good”.

However, the work of the refuge changed day by day, she said.

Staff were gearing up to run the organisation’s education programmes in February.

Courses would be held in Timaru, Ashburton and Oamaru.

Programmes were offered for both adults and children, with up to 16 adults and eight children in courses, she said.

To contact the Mid South Canterbury Women’s Refuge, phone (03) 684 8280 or the crisis line on 0800 00 7750.Sneakers Storenike