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Be Safe Over The Break – We Can Help You

Deputy Chief Executive Pieri Munro:

On average, Police receives an average of 460 reports of events every hour of every day. Of those, 22 reports are of family harm events. Reported family harm events have almost doubled in a decade, from 102,888 in 2013 to 191,640 in 2023.

Christmas, New Year and the holiday period can be particularly stressful for some families and leads to increases in FH reporting for Police and agencies providing support to people experiencing family harm events.

Family violence can affect anyone. Money being tight, increased cost of living, unemployment, increased alcohol consumption, difficult relationships with extended family, decisions about where to spend holidays all add extra pressure and stress at this time of year.

Family violence is a reality for thousands of New Zealanders and remains a widespread problem in our communities. Violence within families and relationships is a crime. It includes physical, sexual emotional or psychological abuse. Other contributing factors may include:

• Stalking or using technology to track somebody • Strangulation • Suicide/homicide threats • Child abuse • Children witnessing abusive relationships within the whanau • Sexual assault • Restricting or preventing somebody from using their finances, accessing medications, aids, devices or support • Property damage • Worsening violence – more severe, more frequent • Use of weapons • Animal/pet abuse • Violence relating to gifts, money or property.

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Violence is never okay, and we want all victims to know that if they come forward, their case will be taken seriously and treated with respect and sensitivity. You can get help.

If you’re in danger, call 111.

If you’re unable speak, call 111, stay silent, and follow the operator’s instructions.

If you’re in danger and you cannot call 111, leave and get out of harm’s way. Your safety comes first. Get to a safe distance and then ask a neighbour, or a passer-by to call 111 for you.

It is important that people, including neighbours, friends and whānau are aware of the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship or factors that can increase the risk of family harm. Some signs to look out for if you suspect somebody is experiencing family harm include

• Coercive and controlling behaviour from a partner or family member • Intimidation by their partner or family member • Intense jealousy or possessiveness from their partner or family member • Unpredictability from their partner or family member • Alcohol/drug/mental health issues – including the victim not seeming like themselves (using drugs/alcohol more frequently, periods of being depressed) • Visible (and non-visible) injuries • Community issues/isolation • Additional stress on the family, such as pregnancy/new birth, loss of a job, financial pressures, etc. • Victim voicing fear of harm

If you suspect someone close to you is a victim of family violence or feel something is not right, it’s okay to act on it – you could save a life. If they are in immediate danger, there are people who can help – Call Police on 111.

We know there are people who know their behavior is unacceptable and don’t want to harm their loved ones but are facing an internal struggle. Stay strong: walk away and take a moment so you don’t do something you’ll regret to someone you love. If you feel like it's time to change, be courageous and get in touch with to start your journey today.

If you know someone who is struggling to cope, check in with them: ask them how they’re feeling, be there to listen and support them to get the help they need. Encourage them to stop, walk away and take some time out. Look after your mates, reach out, invite them to take a walk, take them out for a coffee or offer them a chat, and give them the support they need to take the next step.

The following organisations can provide further support and information:

• Women’s Refuge crisis line [1] | 0800 733 843 - 24 hours | • Family violence information line [2] | 0800 456 450 | • Shine National Helpline [3]| 0508 744 633 -9am to 11pm | • Shakti – for migrant and refugee women | 0800 742 584 - 24 hours | • National network of stopping violence [4] | 03 391 0048 | • Elder Abuse Helpline | 0800 32 668 65 - 24 hours | • Gandhi Nivas [5] – supporting men to be free from violence | 0800 426 344 | • [6] • Hohou te rongo kahukura [7]– outing violence - building rainbow communities free from violence| [8] | • You, me, us [9] – promoting healthy queer, trans and takatāpui relationships | [10] | • Sensitive Claims ACC [11] | 0800 735 566 | • Pet Refuge [12]

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