Epidemic Levels of Family Violence

Every five weeks a child dies, and 21 partners have been murdered, so far this year.

Police are called out every three minutes to deal with a family violence in New Zealand and they deal with over 100,000 cases of domestic violence a year. Assistant Police Commissioner for Harm Prevention, Sandra Venerables discussed the complexities of family violence on TV3 today. She explained there had been an increase in calls for help and a decrease in prosecutions.

“The good news is people are calling sooner, sometimes before violent offending has occurred,” she explained. “So, wrap-around support services are provided reduce the risk of serious harm or death.”

In December last year strangulation became an offence and since then there have been 1,700 people charged with strangulation offences.

New Zealand has always suffered with high violence within families but now people are talking about it and seeking help earlier to prevent more deaths. The big question is why is violence so prevalent in our culture?

We were rated recently as the 7th country in the world for global prosperity but at the same time in another worldwide survey New Zealand was rated 26th for “poor living conditions.” This survey focused on poor housing, infrastructure, health and education. Low wages are also a contributing factor when full-time working parents can’t afford to feed their children after they’ve paid the rent. These collective issues heighten the risk of family violence and the associated toll we pay as a country.

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