Child abuse: Information and support

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Where to go for information and support

ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation)
ACC provides ACC-approved counsellors for children who have been sexually abused. ACC can help with some of the costs of counselling. You can find registered counsellors by region, including ACC-approved sexual abuse counsellors, at the ACC website. You can also phone your local ACC office to ask about counsellors. See the ACC website for ACC contact details or check the government phone listings in the front of the white pages of your phone book.

Barnardos works within the community with programmes developed specifically for New Zealand children and families. The services they provide reflect their commitment to ensuring that all children are able to receive the very best start to life. Services include home-based care and education services, as well as family support and early learning centres. Barnardos also runs supervised access programmes. Call 0800 BARNARDOS (0800 227627367).

CAB (Citizen’s Advice Bureau)
Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, confidential information and advice to anyone about any query or problem.  You can contact your local CAB for details of local crisis counselling services, as these differ from centre to centre. There is also a CAB Multi-lingual Information Service. Call free on 0800 FOR CAB (0800 367 222).

Child, Youth and Family Services
Child, Youth and Family is the government agency that has legal powers to intervene to protect and help children who are being abused or neglected or who have problem behaviour. Child, Youth and Family works with families to protect children and young people, promote the wellbeing of children, young people, their families and family groups, ensure that children in need are secure and cared for and help families maintain and strengthen their child-rearing role. To discuss concerns about a child or young person’s safety or wellbeing ring Child Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459).  See also the Child, Youth and Family website for brochures for parents, for children and young people, and for families and the community.

Child Matters (Educating to Prevent Child Abuse)
Child Matters is a trust dedicated to preventing harm to children in New Zealand. Child Matters provides guidance, advice, education and support to those in a position to act to protect children. Their training and education programmes provide adults with essential skills, and just as importantly the confidence, to intervene when a child needs help. Child Matters provides the following services, aimed at safeguarding children and helping in early detection and intervention when children are at risk or are being abused: training programmes (NZQA approved); seminars; workshops; advice; resources and handbooks. Training and professional development programmes are held throughout New Zealand.

DSAC (Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care)
DSAC is a professional organisation of doctors and nurses from many disciplines. Their main focus is training and supporting health professionals in sexual abuse care.

Family Justice System, including the Family Court of New Zealand
The Family Justice System aims to help people sort out their own problems own about family matters as much as possible. Court appearances are seen as a last resort. See the Family Justice website for a listing of pamphlets and resources about family justice matters.

Family Services Directory
The Family Services Directory lists organisations in your area that can provide families with help and support.

Family Violence - It's not OK
This Ministry of Social Development website has information about family violence, what it is and where to get help. They also have an 0800 Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) which provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available seven days a week, from 9am to 11pm, with an after-hours message redirecting callers in the case of an emergency.

Family Works
Family Works delivers a full range of social work and counselling services in communities throughout New Zealand. Family Works supports families/whānau to become resilient, connected to their communities, and independent of social services long term.

They offer services such as

  • support and counselling for children and their families
  • Early Years programmes to give kids a great start
  • parenting programmes for when the going gets tough
  • budgeting advice and foodbanks

They can be contacted on 64 4 473 5025.
This is a website for teenagers supporting friends who have had an unwanted sexual experience.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you need advice about a child of any age who is unwell or hurt, or has any symptoms of sickness.  Healthline nurses are specialists in assessing and advising over the phone. Healthline is available 24 hours and is free to callers throughout New Zealand, including from a mobile phone. If you need to talk to someone in your own language, Healthline can usually arrange this using an interpreting service.


KidsLine is New Zealand’s only 24-hour helpline for New Zealand children (five to 18 years). KidsLine is part of the LifeLine family of services. Children and young people can ring any hour of the day on an 0800 number and talk to a trained counsellor about anything that might be worrying them. These counsellors are caring, understanding adults who will listen. Children can also talk on weekdays between 4-6pm to a Kidsline Buddy. KidsLine Buddies are specially trained year 12 and 13 students. Call free on 0800 KIDSLINE(0800 543 754) any time.

NZAC (New Zealand Association of Counsellors)
The professional organisation for counsellors in New Zealand. NZAC offers ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation)-approved counsellors and, if the correct procedures are followed, costs are met by ACC. You can check whether a counsellor is a member of NZAC by asking the individual counsellor to show you their certificate, by emailing or by phoning 64 7 834 0220. Remember, if your child has been the victim of abuse, they should only see an approved counsellor who has experience in this area. Check with ACC for approved counsellors.

New Zealand Police
There are various ways you can report a crime. Always call 111 in an emergency. For non-emergencies  you contact your local police station or you can report crimes anonymously to Crimestoppers, free phone 0800 555 111. See the New Zealand Police website for a list of local police contact details or to find out how to get help for family violence (domestic violence) and learn about Protection Orders and Police Safety Orders. 
See Keeping Ourselves Safe (KOS) education  - a child abuse prevention programme for schools.

Office of the Children’s Commissioner
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner is an independent authority promoting children’s and young people’s wellbeing through advocacy, consultation, monitoring, research and investigation.

Open Home Foundation
The Open Home Foundation of NZ has been helping families since 1977, providing social services for children, young people and their families throughout New Zealand. In each service centre they provide:

  • home based social work
  • parenting education
  • foster care

Also available in some centers are mentoring, youth services, care and support for families who have a child with a disability and supervised access. You can get assistance from Open Home Foundation by phoning or visiting one of their service centres

Parentline works with children who have been sexually, physically or emotionally abused or who are at risk of abuse. Their core business is to work with children who have been traumatised by abuse and domestic violence. At the same time, parents are encouraged to support the healing process of their children and often siblings will require the same level of support. They can be contacted on 64 7 839 4536 or

Power to Protect
This website shares information about shaken baby syndrome, tips to help keep your baby safe, and where you can go for help.  The Power to Protect helpline can be called 24/7 on 0800 300 026 - a trained support person will be there to talk with you, offer support and advice, or put you in touch with services.
If you are an organisation who would like to educate new parents about why they must never, ever shake a baby, and what they can do when baby won’t stop crying, visit their page for educators to learn more about the programme. Or if you would just like some free resources to help spread the message about the dangers of shaking a baby, and tips for coping with a crying baby, you can visit their resources page and order these online.

Relationship Services
Relationships Aotearoa is New Zealand’s largest professional counselling and family therapy provider. They are a not-for-profit organisation delivering professional and affordable services which effectively meet the needs of the people they see. Each year they work with many thousands of people helping them make positive changes in their lives by dealing with issues such as: parenting, family conflict, rocky relationships, separation, domestic violence, trauma, anxiety, grief and loss, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse. Call them on 0800 735 283.

SAFE are a specialist treatment service working with adults and youth who have harmful sexual behaviour and with children who have problematic sexual behaviours, assisting them to learn to express themselves in healthier ways. Looking for further information on how you might access help for you or someone you know? Visit: The Harbour

Salvation Army
The Salvation Army helps people in need through a wide range of community programmes. These include food assistance, budgeting advice, life skills training, counselling, crisis and supportive accommodation, addiction services (drug, alcohol and problem gambling), chaplaincy support, employment training, chaplaincy, emergency services, and youth work.

Shine provides a range of services, including a comprehensive web site on family violence. Although the organisation is Auckland based, the information on the website is nationally relevant. The organisation provides a national helpline 0508 744 633. The helpline operates 9.00am -11:00pm every day.

Victim Support
Victim Support provides 24-hour emotional support, personal advocacy and information to all people affected by crime and trauma throughout New Zealand. Call free on 0800 VICTIM (0800 842846).

Victims of Crime Information Line
0800 650 654 provides information for people affected by crime about support services and the justice system. This free phone line is available from 9am – 6pm on normal working days. Outside of these hours there is continued support available as callers can connect to the line's partner agency Victim Support.

What’s Up
What’s Up is a free, national telephone counselling service for New Zealanders aged five to 18 years. The service operates seven days a week from noon to midnight. Paid, trained and closely supervised professional counsellors answer the telephones. What’s Up aims to provide early help to children and teach them skills that will help prevent the development of major problems later in their lives. What’s Up is provided by The Kid’s Help Foundation Trust in association with Barnardos New Zealand. Call free on 0800 WHATSUP (0800 942 8787).

Women’s Refuge
Women's Refuge is an independent community organisation, run by women, for women and children. It provides support and information when you are dealing with violence in your life. Support includes a 24-hour helpline, 24-hour access to a safe house, counselling, support with financial and legal matters, childcare programmes and information and education. Services are confidential and free. For crisis, support and advocacy please contact a local Women's Refuge. See the Women’s Refuge website for:

Helpline: 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843).

Young New Zealanders’ Foundation
The Young New Zealanders’ Foundation aims to create safer communities by supporting, educating and empowering young people in their families and in the wider community. The Foundation supplies a range of educational resources.

Youth Court
The Youth Court deals with young people 14, 15 and 16 years old. See the Youth Court website for:

Youthlaw is a law agency set up just for young people. They have a huge range of brochures and booklets on most things that involve young people and the law. Give them a call if you need some legal advice, or want to know your rights in a particular situation. They are friendly and helpful and their information is free to young people. The website has a section about domestic violence and young people. Phone: 64 9 309 6967. If you are outside of Auckland, collect calls are accepted.

A free telephone counselling service for young people. Call free on 0800 376 633.

This page last reviewed 14 November 2013
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2015
Printed on 31 July 2015. Content is regularly updated so please refer to for the most up-to-date version
Content endorsed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand