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Women’s Refuge has concerns with Police Stats

Wednesday 3rd April, 2013 Media Release

Women’s Refuge has concerns with Police Stats

The Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges has cautiously welcomed the news that national crime is at a 24 year low.

"While I am encouraged to see progress in many areas, including around reducing repeat victimisation, there are still areas of concern," said Ms Henare.

"Sexual assaults are up which is disappointing, especially when it is common knowledge that sexual assaults are notoriously under reported. We have no real idea about the extent of sexual crimes in this country so yesterday's statistics do not paint a true picture," she said.

"Murders have also increased. In New Zealand family violence accounts for around half of all murders so this increase is a blow for our sector," Ms Henare said. “Every single family violence death in New Zealand is a preventable death, so there is a lot more that could be done to deal with this sharp end of the wedge.”

Ms Henare also queried what the statistics reveal about domestic violence. “It is very hard for us to learn what is happening in the domestic and family violence sectors from the statistics released by the police yesterday. Dwelling assaults is a fairly benign and sterile description of the brutality that occurs within homes. Like sexual violence, we know the vast majority of family and domestic violence goes unreported.”

An increase in the use of Police Safety Orders (PSO) although welcomed by Ms Henare also raised questions about the use of these orders. “Women’s Refuge knows of incidents where PSO’s were used in cases that involved clear evidence of physical violence. As PSO’s do not result in Police charges, we are concerned that criminal acts may not be captured by these statistics.”

"What we do know is the Police attend many domestic violence incidents that never end up recorded as an offence. We have long standing concerns that the threshold for recording an incident as an offence is too high and that there are cases when an act of domestic violence has not had an appropriate Police response.”

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