Women's Refuge CEO: Family violence incidents going unreported

By Mare Haimona-Riki

New data shows a significant increase in family harm incidents across the country, since the commencement of Alert level 4 lockdown on March 26th. Counties/Manukau and Northland are of the most affected regions in the country. 

With 74 callouts per day in Counties/Manukau and 40 in Northland - Women's Refuge Chief Executive, Ang Jury believes that many incidents are going unreported.

“It makes perfect sense, If someone is locked in a house with a  person who’s using violence, it's really hard to call for help, it's not as easy as it used to be just picking up a phone or going online, it's a problem for them now,” Jury says.

Police Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables says that the lockdown rules do not affect the degree of importance these callouts have.

“We want everybody to know Police will continue to prioritise family harm incidents and we will come when you call. Everybody deserves to be safe, and feel safe.

 “We realise this is a hard time for some families and we want them to know Police are there for them. We know that for some people, home right now may be an uncomfortable or scary place.”

Police have worked closely with the Ministry of Social Development to ensure there is temporary accommodation for people under Police Safety Orders. Police, the Joint Venture Business Unit, and MSD have also worked together to ensure 0800 Hey Bro (for men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one) has been able to operate nationally during COVID-19.

“We know being around the same people 24/7 can be a challenge, and we know for some people this may make them fearful, at risk, or on the edge of doing harm.

“So if you feel fearful or threatened, please reach out. Police is there 24/7,” the Assistant Commissioner says.