Police Stats true picture of domestic violence in NZ?
Joint Media Release 5pm Tuesday September 24th
Regarding soon to be released Police Statistics for ‘Fiscal Year’
This Media Release is from Women’s Refuge (CE) Heather Henare; Ms Betty Sio (CE) Pacific Islands Safety & Prevention Project Inc. (The Project) and Shila Nair (Senior Advisor) Shakti Community Council Inc.
Do Police Statistics represent true picture of domestic violence in NZ?
Crime Statistics for the fiscal year are due out next week and three agencies dealing with domestic violence are worried they won’t show the true level of domestic violence in New Zealand.
“I hope these statistics give realistic information about the true incidences of domestic violence,” says Heather Henare, Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, “we would be very disappointed if the statistics released are not comprehensive. Last April the calendar year statistics lumped domestic and family violence together under 'dwelling assaults' and this was not helpful in giving organisations that deal with domestic violence a true picture.”
The Pacific Islands Safety & Prevention Project Inc. (The Project), Women’s Refuge and Shakti Community Council are collectively concerned about a trend they are noticing in how domestic violence cases are managed.
“What we are seeing are fewer prosecutions, more diversions for what we would consider to be serious offences, a trend towards not charging offenders and a greater reliance on the victim being the evidence provider,” says The Project Chief Executive Ms Betty Sio. “We are concerned that despite our experience of levels of family violence remaining steady, Police statistics say offences are falling. Without transparent data it is very hard for us to assess what is really happening.”
Ms Shila Nair, a senior advisor for Shakti says when police work well with victims and domestic violence advocates the chances of preventing re-victimisation increases dramatically. “We know that good partnership works to make offenders accountable and women to live safer lives,” she says. “We have good examples of this as well as some not so good examples. We are reliant on Police to use our laws fully to keep offenders accountable for breaking the law.”
Ms Henare says any attempt to minimise the true reality of domestic violence in New Zealand undermines the attempts of agencies such as theirs to keep women and their children safe from violence.