About Aviva

Aviva has provided specialist family violence services to women and children living with and overcoming family violence service in Cantebury since 1973, when we were first formed as Christchurch Women's Refuge.

Since then we have evolved to support children as well and, since 2012, men who have used family violence. We remain an independent Canterbury-based charity.

The creation of Christchurch Women's Refuge - New Zealand's first women's refuge - in 1973 triggered the development of dozens of other refuges throughout the country. Read more about our founders in our April 2013 newsletter.

Since 1973 we have supported many thousands of Canterbury women, children and men to live free from family violence. Hear and watch a little about our journey 1973 - 2013.

Since 2014 we have also supported people who have experienced sexual assault, whether recently or historically.

We currently have over 40 full or part-time staff, who together support over 1,500 clients every year. We also work closely with like-minded agencies who believe in the power of all people to shape their own journeys of change, if given the right support, at the right time, in the right way.

What We Do

Aviva specialises in sexual and family violence services that are designed to support people overcome the effects of violence and create safer, more fulfilling futures. We have continually evolved our services over the past four decades and will continue to do so.

Our group and individual programmes for women, and our children's group programmes, are all approved by the Ministry of Justice. We have a strong focus on children and offer specialised education programmes for children in recognition of their different needs and experiences. We have also developed a specialist youth services team who support young pepople in the community, and through a school-based healthy realtionship programme.

Our social services staff offer support, advocacy, and assistance with accessing essential services (e.g. financial, legal, health, housing etc) and professional referrals.

We provide a free 24-hour support and information phone line which is available throughout New Zealand, and provide access to emergency, temporary accommodation. In partnership with Auckland based agency Shine we deliver the Shine safe@home service to high-risk families in Canterbury.

We support men to overcome family violence through our ReachOut service, which is a service to support men so that they can co-create a respectful and healthy relationship as a partner or parent.

We have designed a specialist family violence peer support programme – the first of its kind in New Zealand – which draws upon the power and wisdom of women and men who have overcome family violence to support others taking the same journey.

We offer microfinance services, including low and no interest loans, to support people escape the financial exclusion that oftens occurs alongside violence, and to remove a key source of stress that can contribute to vioelnce.

We offer the Sexual Assualt Support Service Canterbury (SASSC), in partnership with START, to support men and women through medical and legal notification processes, and to begin to overcome the effects of sexual assault.

How Aviva Makes a Difference

All of our services are offered in the belief that empowering people to discover their potential will enable them to confront the abuse in their lives and to plan for a better future.

We support women, children and men to recognise the changes they can make to achieve this future, and we offer support to access the practical assistance required to realise their goals.

We support children to feel safe, to understand acceptable relationship behaviour and to believe in a positive, safe future. In this way we help break the cycle of violence in which children can adopt the behaviours they have witnessed or experienced.

We also help strengthen other agencies, government services and sectors of the community to understand and refuse to tolerate family violence.