Women's Refuge says domestic violence is one of NZ's most serious social issues. In a speech delivered to the UN, Women’s Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue says government strategies, ministerial groups and bodies have failed to fix the issue.
Blue says, "We held extensive consultations with many groups about human rights issues that they felt were a priority and family violence came out number one all the time."
Blue told the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women that successive governments had failed generations of women.
Skylight CEO Heather Henare agrees.
"Women are the most affected by health, housing, by poverty, by domestic violence and we've known this for a very long time,” she says.
Under Secretary for Justice Jan Logie says, "Women are suffering as a result of government’s failure to act and because of certain policies of government and we need to change it".
Blue says more than 120,000 call-outs are made to police. That's estimated to be only 20% of people who do report.
But with little comprehensive data, that number could be even larger, particularly for Māori. According to Blue, Māori are three times more likely to be victims and offenders of domestic violence.
"What if 100% of people reported?, that would make up to half-a-million family violence victims in NZ, so we do have an issue and we also have an issue with data collection because we don't know the detail of it."
Logie says the government will look to collect more data that will include speaking directly to victims.
"This government has set up a dedicated central agent within government to try and bring together all of our government agencies on the shared understanding and make sure we actually get better data."
Blue says "That's what we need to do to go forward, we don't want to lose any more momentum.”
The Government will be hearing a report with recommendations from the UN in the following weeks.