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Domestic Violence Figures Double

18 August 2006

Domestic Violence Figures Double

Police domestic violence figures have doubled in the last 10 years but funding for family violence agencies has remained the same or dropped.

Police Minister Annette King this week released figures showing a 100% increase in reported domestic violence incidents and arrests between 1996 and 2005.

These figures are a wake-up call and need to be matched with realistic funding for services, National Network of Stopping Violence Services manager Brian Gardner said.

"Domestic violence is clearly a huge issue for New Zealand, it is costing the country billions of dollars a year in court costs, police resources, community costs not to mention human costs to those affected.

"While Police figures have doubled, funding for agencies like ours and Women's Refuge has stayed the same or dropped.

"Our agencies are expected to respond to the increased number of families experiencing family violence without the funds to do that. We cannot afford to appoint, retain, attract or train the staff we need.

"We have waiting lists for programmes. We now have 57% of men coming to our programmes self referred, up from 36%. These men can't afford to pay the full cost, we are subsidising them on meagre funds."

Mr Gardner said the recently released Taskforce report earmarked $11m for attitude and behaviour change over the next four years, but this will put enormous strain on family violence services if they aren't funded properly.

"We need $9m a year to fully meet demand for our services as well as engage in attitude and behaviour change activities."

Women's Refuge National Manager Heather Henare supported Mr Gardner's comments and said women's refuge needs $16m now to manage the current increase in demand.

"Although there has been a small increase in our baseline funding it does not go far enough," Ms Henare said.

"A significant factor within the increase in Police referrals is the need for advocates to be available to work with women and their children within the immediate crisis. Women need to be heard and supported during those initial stages of Police intervention in order to maximise her safety and the safety of her children.

"It's good that people are speaking up and reporting domestic violence to Police. However we need to ensure that advocacy and other services are available to help," she said.

National Network agencies provide support and programmes for men who want to stop being violence and for women and children who have been victims of violence.

ENDS


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