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Women’s Refuge statement about the NZFVCH Data

Women’s Refuge statement about the NZFVCH Data embargoed for release 6am June 30th

Highest number of Family Violence Investigations recorded says Women’s Refuge

Women’s Refuge believes the number of family violence police investigations released today by the NZFVCH show the highest number of family violence investigations since records began.

“When you think that Police estimate they receive only a relatively small percentage (between 13-20%) of all reported incidents then family violence is a huge concern in this country,” says Women’s Refuge Chief Executive Dr Ang Jury.

“It is also accepted that on average a woman will not call the Police until she has experienced around 20 violent incidents, so under reporting is a significant and ongoing issue this society needs to respond to.”

However, Women’s Refuge says the high number of investigations underlines what a significant and prevalent issue domestic and family violence is in New Zealand. “This data shows how pervasive this issue is in New Zealand and the level of response and attention the issue needs.

“We have long standing concerns around the low number of family violence related police investigations that eventuate in an offence being recorded,” says Dr Jury. “The data shows that an offence is recorded in only 37% of investigations and that is very low, especially given that as a general rule, family violence is only self-reported when the offending or threat is perceived to be significant or at the high end of seriousness by the victim.”

She says the latest statistics do nothing to alleviate these concerns, “although we are hopeful that the current family violence change programme being rolled out within the NZ Police will go a long way to address the police's approach to family violence.”

Women’s Refuge has also raised concerns about the increasing use of Police Safety Orders in family and domestic violence incidents. “However, Women's Refuge is now working with the Police around PSO implementation training and believes that this will assist in ensuring that all calls for service are responded to appropriately.”

“We also note that the resolution of recorded offences for breach of a protection order have dropped from 90 – 83% since 2008. “We find this concerning and believe it further underlines the need for the internal training programme the NZ Police has recently begun,” says Dr Jury.

The number of male assault female offences is low, as is the resolution rate, and this remains a concern for Women’s Refuge. “We acknowledge that the Police are looking at these issues as part of their internal change programme and look forward to seeing an improved resolution rate.”

Dr Jury, however, said that it was timely the data was released on June 30th, “today is the eve of Women’s Refuge Annual Awareness and Appeal month-long July Campaign and this data serves to show how important all our work is in preventing and responding to domestic violence in this country.

ends

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