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Black Ribbon NZ disappointed with Report

Black Ribbon New Zealand disappointed with the Family Violence Death Review Committee 5th Annual Report.

The latest Family Violence Death Review Committee report has unfortunately failed to address all of the problems New Zealand faces as it tries to navigate the complex issues surrounding family violence. Black Ribbon New Zealand is disappointed at the popular but erroneous view that women are only violent when men drive them to it. The language of the report itself perpetuates the myth that kiwi women do not have a violence problem, when the data clearly shows otherwise.

The Committee has not included updated quantitative data on all New Zealand family violence deaths in its 5th annual report. A data report including family violence deaths occurring in 2013 and 2014 is due to be published by the Committee in mid-2016. The last report providing analysed data on deaths published by the Family Violence Death Review Committee was based on 2013 data, and included information on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN), and Intrafamilial Violence (IFV).

In that report, IPV accounted for 50% of the deaths, CAN for 29.4% of the deaths, and IFV for 20.6% of the deaths. Women accounted for 29.8% of the perpetrators (37) and men for 68.5% (85). In 2 cases the gender of the perpetrator was unknown. Women were represented more highly than men in child abuse and neglect related deaths, accounting for 45.9% of child deaths. As is clear from the latest analysed data we have from the Family Violence Death Review Committee, women are the perpetrator in fewer cases than men. But they are far from exempt in committing violent acts, including those resulting in death.

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Where there are a multitude of refuges for women however, the same unfortunately cannot be said of safe havens for their partners and children. Where there are domestic abuse programs for men, they are primarily concerned with men who are perpetrators of domestic violence, not victims. We believe that the unbalanced assistance given to men and children who are abused in interpersonal and domestic violence situations is a result of how New Zealand views female perpetrators.

Black Ribbon New Zealand believes that both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development have a responsibility to initiate a public inquiry into the nature and extent of the problem both for female offenders and male victims, and for public discussion to be opened which may provide New Zealand with some worthwhile options moving forward to make our homes a safer place for victims. The first step is to begin deconstructing the myths around current gender biases and focus instead on the nature of the problem - violence. We urgently need solutions. We will unfortunately never find them if we do not look for them.

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