New Zealand is a very violent society, family violence is the highest in the world, I copy below an article by Amy Adams, a senior Police reporter from the New Zealand Herald, one of the leading national newspapers.
‘Family violence: 525,000 New Zealanders harmed every year
• On average, police attend a family violence incident every five and a half minutes – that’s 279 calls each day. • At least 80 per cent of family violence incidents are not reported to the police. • Last year, police attended about 105,000 domestic violence incidents. • If all incidents were reported, they would have attended at least 525,000 calls for help. • Children are present at about 80 per cent of all violent incidents in the home. • On average 13 women and 10 men are killed each year as a result of family violence. • One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime. • Family violence is estimated to cost the country between $4.1 billion and $7 billion each year. Just under 115,000 people live in Tauranga. Imagine if every one of those people was the victim of family violence. Imagine that every person who lived in Tauranga had been physically, sexually, emotionally or psychologically abused by a member of their immediate family. A husband, an ex-partner, a parent. Imagine if every five minutes, the police were called in Tauranga because someone was beaten, tormented, bullied, tortured, abused or savaged in their home, by someone who was supposed to love and care for them. While this scenario is imaginary, the statistics are real. In 2015, police around New Zealand attended about 105,000 family violence callouts. If each of those incidents was represented by a person, that’s getting close to the population of Tauranga.
If you were to bump that number up by 80 per cent – to reflect the number of incidents that go unreported each year – you reach 525,000. That’s almost four times Tauranga’s population. That’s a lot of New Zealanders – mostly women – who are harmed and hurt. We have the highest reported rate of intimate-partner violence and child abuse in the developed world and it is estimated that one in three Kiwi women during the course of their lives will experience either physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a partner or ex. Among those victims was a Wellington woman who was beaten by her husband, a health professional. He has name suppression, but the court allowed the Herald to report that during an argument, the man threw a metal bar stool at the woman and when it missed her, he grabbed a wooden children’s chair and hit her around her upper body. The chair broke and she tried to get away, going into a bedroom where one of the couple’s children was. The man walked in and twice slapped his wife’s face, grabbed her hair, pulled her to the floor and kicked her legs. Last month, university student Jesse Ferris-Bromley was sent to prison for eight years after beating his 20-year-old girlfriend, Virginia Ford, to death. It was the last in a string of brutal attacks on the woman. Four days before she died, Ferris-Bromley subjected Ms Ford to an attack that left her with bleeding on the brain and fractured ribs. The details of these incidents may shock many people, but for many New Zealanders, this kind of violence is part of daily life. There is no one driver behind the problem, and certainly no easy solution. But one thing is clear – we can, and must, do better. “The high rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable,” said Justice Minister Amy Adams. “It is one of our most significant social issues.” Mrs Adams is leading a comprehensive government cross-agency review of family violence laws in a bid to tackle the problem. She said the issue was “horrific” and it was time for an “overhaul” – not just of the law and the way authorities deal with victims and offenders, but of how family violence was seen and considered within the community. “This is not something that happens in some parts of New Zealand. This happens across every single social, ethnic, age and socio-economic group,” she said. “We have to acknowledge that. It happens in every street, in every community. To make people think about this more and talk about this more, that is part of our challenge. We absolutely can and must do better.