Family violence statistics show violence is up on last year

We always look with interest this time of the year to the release of the New Zealand Police crime statistics. This tells us many things and is in need of careful interpretation. Reporting of family violence is up by 11.8%. What this refers to is that during the 2009/2010 year police recorded 54,104 family violence offences compared to 48,389 recorded in 2008/09. So how do we make sense of the number?

It is generally agreed that family violence is not necessarily on the increase. We think that it has remained relatively stable during the past ten years. With only around 20% of incidents reported to the police there is still significant under-reporting of what is really going on.

What is clear is that campaigns such as, “It’s not OK” campaigns, combined with the efforts of hundreds of community organisations throughout New Zealand, have helped ensure that family violence is now far more visible than it used to be. What we’re seeing is that the real level of violence is being brought into the open. Exposing what happens behind closed doors is about a consistent message, “We don’t like violence within our whanau/families”.

Awareness and taking a position is one thing. Intervening to prevent further abuse is another. With 35 of the 65 murders in New Zealand in the last financial year classified as family violence, we still have a serious issue on our hands. This is still a shocking statistic for a country as small as ours.

We can all take a position against violence within families. White Ribbon Day is this month and is building momentum in the challenge of stopping violence against women. The White Ribbon campaign raises awareness of men’s violence against women – which in New Zealand generally takes place within families.

Men wear the white ribbon to show they will not condone or remain silent about violence against women. The campaign celebrates the many men willing to show leadership and commitment to promoting safe, healthy relationships within families and encourages men to challenge each other on attitudes and behaviour that are abusive.

Published on Monday, November 1st, 2010, under Family violence

Leave a Reply