AWARDS FINALIST: Contact – Keeping people and homes warm, safe, and connected

5 Jul 2024

Contact Energy supports Women’s Refuge provide critical help for women and children affected by family violence and to push for longer-term change.

The company had supported the organisation since 2020 but formalised a multi-year partnership in July 2022 in order to help make a more lasting impact.

Contact says the partnership exemplifies how corporate responsibility can extend beyond profit to make a tangible difference in the community.

It is built on three main pillars.

Contact provides free energy and broadband to all 70 of the organisation’s safe houses, refuges, and offices. That support makes sure the clients of Women’s Refuge have safe, warm, and connected environments.

It also frees up funds the refuges can allocate to directly supporting the families they are helping.


The company has also used its staff and customer networks to significantly back Women’s Refuge's national fundraising efforts, providing money to leverage those efforts, and collaborated with the Women’s Refuge to boost news coverage of the group’s winter appeal in July 2023.

The campaign featured prominently on TV3’s "The Project" and brought in 68 per cent more than the year before. It was the most successful month of fundraising ever and delivered enough money to provide 26,219 safe nights.

The TV campaign drove a substantial portion of the donations but also raised wider community understanding.

Contact has also directly funded a pioneering research project, "Safer When, Safer How," which has gathered insights from 3500 women who have experienced family violence.

This ongoing project informs government policy, healthcare training, and Women’s Refuge's operational strategies. By providing evidence-based solutions, the project aims to create a legacy of change, empowering various sectors of society to do more to prevent family violence.

New Zealand has the highest rate of family violence in the OECD, with one in three women experiencing family violence in their lifetime. Women’s Refuge supports more than 50,000 women and children annually.

Contact says the initiative is not only about providing immediate assistance, but also about widening community understanding of the issue and creating sustainable solutions to reduce family violence in the future.

Credit support

Promotion of Women’s Refuge through newsletters and social media channels has raised awareness among customers who have endorsed the value of the partnership, Contact says.

The assistance stops there. Contact offers women arriving at a new home access to power, regardless of a poor credit history due to financial abuse. Refuge clients can also receive a 20 per cent discount for up to three months at a time under the firm’s Hand Up programme.

The Community Initiative of the Year category is sponsored by Eagle Technology.