Domestic violence 'an issue for everyone'
Human Rights Commission
28 March 2006
Domestic violence ‘an issue for everyone’
Protecting women and children from domestic violence was not just an issue for the Courts and Police, said Human Rights Commissioner Joy Liddicoat.
Ms Liddicoat welcomed the comments made yesterday by Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier, marking the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act ten years ago.
“Judge Boshier is to be commended for speaking out about this issue and acknowledging that the Courts can’t stop domestic violence on their own.
“The bare statistics tell us that domestic violence is a problem that continues to grow. Judge Boshier notes that over half of the murders in New Zealand result from domestic violence. Last year the police fielded over 30,000 emergency 111 calls on domestic violence and those are only the reported incidents.
“We have just spent two weeks marvelling at the Commonwealth Games and the thousands of spectators and athletes from all over the world. In reality, the New Zealanders affected by domestic violence in the last ten years would have filled the MCG many times over.”
Ms Liddicoat said it is time for the hand wringing to stop.
“Domestic violence is a crime. The safety of women and children lies not simply in the hands of the Courts and the Police, but in the hands of their loved ones and their communities. The overwhelming majority of victims are women and children who can’t protect themselves on their own.
“With domestic violence so pervasive, almost every one of us probably knows someone who has been a victim, whether it’s a family member, friend or workmate. Silence and inaction is part of the problem. We all have to be willing to help those around us and be part of the solution.”
Ms Liddicoat said there have been some excellent initiatives by men’s groups to stand up against domestic violence, including thousands of New Zealand men and women who took part in White Ribbon Day last November to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.