Hawke's Bay family violence on the rise

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Hawke's Bay is the only region in New Zealand where family violence rates are increasing, a problem that sees around 6000 police call-outs each year.  But that is only the tip of the iceberg with more than 70% of incidents going unreported. 

It's a worrying statistic that Pam McCann, service manager for Family Works East Coast says is frightening.

"Police in Hawke's Bay are called out to 6000 family violence incidents every year and that's only 24% of all family violence, so 76% are not reported to police."

In Hastings alone, more than 2600 children were present during family violence, a huge problem that McCann says needs addressing urgently.

"It's one of the biggest moral social and spiritual challenges that we have not just in Hawke's Bay but in New Zealand and it's a problem we need to address collectively."

She says the affects it has on children are profound and can lead to many behavioural issues, emotional scarring and inter-generational violence. 

"A lot of people ask me, how can we help? Well the things we can do is be better informed about violence and what it does to kids and what it does to families and we need to stop being by-standers to violence."

"When we know its happening we need to do something about it, but in our own whānau we need to say no, it's not good enough and we need to stand up for the victims."

Nationally police attend one family violence related incident every 5 and a half minutes, while in Hawke's Bay police attend 17 a day.

Family Works is a Presbyterian organisation that provides child and family services across the country and it's Hastings branch has been working alongside another organisation Ikaroa Rangatahi based in Flaxmere to help reduce family violence statistics.