Combating family violence a 'shared responsibility'

Combating family violence a 'shared responsibility'

|3 News| Organisations against family violence are concerned at New Zealand's rising rates of reported cases and say all of society must pitch in to combat the problem.

Police investigated 101,981 instances of domestic violence in 2014, according to statistics released today by the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse (NZFVC), a figure up from 95,080 instances reported the year before.

"It's a bit upsetting to see [the figures] still going up, but if reporting's going up that's probably a good thing – we want more reporting but it's no surprise to us, put it that way, in terms of the overall number of investigations," says Women's Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury.

"This is actually an all-of-society, an all-of-community issue. This is very much a shared responsibility. "We'll do our bit, police can do their bit, courts can do their bit – everyone else has got to chime in as well," she says.

The figures showed that 37 percent of the instances led to an offence being recorded.

Holly Carrington, a spokesperson for Shine, a charity helping victims of domestic abuse, says despite the higher rate of investigations, family violence is not necessarily on the rise.

"There is really no way to know if prevalence is actually increasing as so much of the problem is still hidden. There is far more demand for our services than we are able to meet, so again, it is hard to tell whether that actually translates into an increase in prevalence."

She agrees with Ms Jury that family violence is shared responsibility.

"We need as many people as possible – in Government, government agencies, the health sector, schools, and throughout the community – to recognise just how serious the problem is and be willing to get involved and be part of the solution."

The data also showed the resolution rate in 2014 had decreased from previous years, meaning fewer investigations led to someone being apprehended over an alleged crime.

In 2014, 82 percent of 7163 recorded male assaults female offences were resolved, a decrease from 93 percent in 2008.

There was also a decrease in the resolution rate of people breaching protection orders; last year 83 percent of the 6103 recorded offences were resolved, down from 90 percent in 2008.

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