Category Archives: Domestic Violence

THIS IS EVERYONE’S ISSUE! Teen family violence survivor: I made it out, but other kids don’t.

NEW ZEALAND HAS THE WORST RECORDED RATE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE IN THE ‘DEVELOPED’ WORLD!

Domestic violence thrives in darkness and secrecy. If no one asks about it and no one talks about it, nothing changes. Join Light It Orange to shine a light on domestic violence and be part of the solution. @Shine

To the world he was an assistant principal, sports coach, loving husband, dedicated father. But behind closed doors he was a monster beating, belittling, berating and bullying his wife and children every day.

“He was really, really abusive to us mentally, emotionally and physically,” his 18-year-old son told the Weekend Herald. “He always put us down, he was always controlling, he would always use violence.”

The teen spoke out about his abusive upbringing because he wants to raise awareness about family violence and let people know what it’s like for kids growing up in volatile and fear-filled homes.

“He’d be the best dad in the world in front of people, but as soon as they left, he’d be back to himself and treated us horribly.”

More than 90,000 Kiwi children are exposed to family violence each year. That’s one in 12 of our young people either witnessing or being subjected to violence or abuse in their own homes, where they should be safe and protected from harm.

Every five-and-a-half weeks in New Zealand a child is killed by a family member.

The stats are horrific, and this year specialist domestic violence prevention charity Shine is focusing on the plight of our young people in its annual Light It Orange appeal.

The 18-year-old and his mother and siblings turned to Shine about five years ago after all hell broke loose in their home one night.

During a violent altercation between his parents, his sister called police. His father was taken away, and never returned to the family home. His abuse continued and does to this day. He stalks his family, driving past the house at all hours to remind them that he is still there. But court orders prevent him going any closer to them.

The 18-year-old was hit daily, for any reason, and was constantly trying to find ways to win his father’s love. “Dad always told me that no one cared about my thoughts or feelings. He always told me I was too short and too fat. He made fun of everything I did. He used to tell my little sister that she was a mistake, that she should never have been born. Dad was quite cruel… I never felt safe, I felt very scared, I didn’t know what was goingto happen, who was goin to get hurt.”

His mother and siblings were also subjected to daily abuse. The teen grew up thinking that was normal. After all, his father was an upstanding and respected member of the community so surely he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“I would go to my friends’ places and see how their dads treated them, and I’d think ‘why doesn’t his dad hit him or tell him he’s stupid? When he would fight with my mum he would tell me to stay away, otherwise he’d hit me as well. I was sure that if I tried to stop him, what was happening to my mum would get worse or something bad would happen to me.”

Life was confusing, exhausting for the teen. “I could never please him, I blamed myself for a long time because I was never able to fulfil his wishes. When he left it was like a huge weight of relief came off me.”

The teen, who is now at university and living in a violence and abuse-free home with his mum, brother and sister, spoke out about his life to help others understand how serious family violence is in New Zealand.

“I think people are extremely naive about it. I wanted to speak up so people know what kids see and hear. I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to make it out but other kids don’t. This is something that is happening every day.”

Shine’s Light It Orange national appeal runs for a week from Saturday, March 3.

During the week hundreds of Kiwi schools, workplaces, clubs, businesses, and individuals have fundraisers to help the charity with all donations helping kids and running the free domestic abuse helpline that operates 365 days a year.

Shine spokeswoman Holly Carrington said people who think they don’t know anyone who’s experienced family violence need to understand that they probably do.

“Family violence is an epidemic. With one in three women experiencing it in their lifetime and so many children being affected, it’s likely that someone you know has been hurt, scared or abused by a partner or family member.

Shine helps victims get safe and stay safe. Our services help children know how to deal with these difficult situations by helping them create an age-appropriate safety plan for the next dangerous or violence episode, and we help them to understand that the violence is not their fault.”

Carrington said the most important thing was for New Zealanders to realise this is everyone’s issue. The more we look out for each other and our children, the more we talk to each other and offer support, the less power abusers have and the stronger our communities become.”

Funds raised through Light It Orange in Auckland will support Shine’s work with children who are traumatised by family violence.

Outside Auckland, donations will fund Shine’s free domestic abuse helpline, which is available to adults and children experiencing abuse, or to anyone who suspects a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour needs help.

For more information on Shine’s Light It Orange appeal, including how to get your workplace, school or group involved, click here.

Light It Orange the facts

According to police and support agencies, New Zealand has the worst recorded rate of family violence in the developed world.

In 2016 police investigated 118,910 incidents of family violence, an increase of more than 8000 on 2015.

One in three women in New Zealand will experience abuse in her lifetime, and the majority of those women will have children.

Shine has advice on its website for what to do if you know or suspect someone is experiencing domestic violence, whether that person is an adult or a child.

If you’re in danger now:

Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

Run outside and head for where there are other people.

Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

Take the children with you.

Don’t stop to get anything else.

If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:

Women’s Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz.

It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz.

Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584 Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz family-justice/domesticviolence.

National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz.

White Ribbon: Aimingto to eliminate men’s violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.

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Cover My Tracks

NZ Herald

Some parents call it a loving smack. I call it violence – Susanna Rustin. 

The human rights case for “equal protection” from violence can no longer be ignored with regard to children.

To say that English parents are uniquely keen on hitting their kids wouldn’t be fair, even on a day when the Welsh government’s announcement that it aims to outlaw corporal punishment leaves England looking isolated. 

What can be said with confidence is that English parents, and the MPs who represent them, appear unusually determined to hold on to the legal right to “smack” their offspring.

I say “smack” because that is the term most often used, though whether these blows or slaps are really distinguishable from others is a moot point. Certainly most smacks aren’t issued as formal penalties, as used to happen in schools or households in which discipline was a matter of “Wait till your dad gets home”. Currently the UK is one of just two countries in the EU (the other is the Czech Republic) neither to have banned corporal punishment, nor to be considering a ban.

One survey by the NSPCC reported almost half of British parents of children aged between 11 and 17 as saying they had smacked them, but the lack of international research makes comparisons difficult. In one of the few surveys of families across Europe, 70% of French parents said they had slapped a child’s face, while just 8% claimed to be raising children without any violence.

It is widely agreed that corporal punishment is becoming less common in the UK, as it is in most places. But the idea that British parents should be allowed to change at our own pace, and not be threatened with sanctions, is tenacious.
The problem for politicians, when faced with the prospect of tabloid ire about a ban, is that the law matters. This is partly practical. Changing laws alters behaviour much more dramatically than any amount of nudging or peer pressure, though public education is important. But law is also a matter of principle. Bruce Adamson, the children’s commissioner for Scotland (where the government has thrown its weight behind a ban), is a lawyer who believes the human rights case for “equal protection” from violence can no longer be ignored with regard to children.

Just how strange it is that British children don’t currently have the same protection as adults takes a bit of thinking about. Take me, a mother with a fairly quick temper. I would never set out to smack my children because I don’t believe in it, but I’ve more than once grabbed or handled them roughly, and once slapped a leg when furious.

I’m not proud of this. In fact I’m sorry about it, and own up here only because it feels hypocritical not to. But my point is this: when it’s so obviously more wrong to swear at small children, or scream insults at them, than it is to do the same to your spouse or another adult, how can it not be worse to lash out physically as well? 

“How can it be that a defence exists for an assault on a toddler, as long as it doesn’t leave a mark, that doesn’t exist for an assault on a grownup?” 

There are two main answers to this. One of these is that smacks aren’t assaults, they are punishments. The evidence, however, doesn’t support this. Joan Durrant, a professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba in Canada, says that decades of research point to the idea of the orderly smack – delivered to teach a child a lesson, being a fallacy.

Adults mostly hit their children when enraged and out of control, and language plays a key role in masking this. Just as the term once used to describe victims of domestic violence as “battered wives” had a useful (to abusers) double meaning, suggesting someone worn out rather than beaten up, so child-hitters have their own special word: “smack” is designed to dissociate thumping a child from other forms of violence.

The other justification often given is that even if hitting children is wrong, it’s even more wrong for police and courts to interfere in family life. The fear of spurious prosecutions, of good and loving parents being criminalised, looms large in arguments against change. 

Here New Zealand offers a reassuring lesson: in the three years after the banning of physical punishment, the government found that the dreaded “unnecessary state intervention” in private homes did not happen.

How can it be that a defence exists for an assault on a toddler that doesn’t exist for an assault on a grown-up?

Hardly anyone defends smacking per se any more. A growing body of evidence since the 1980s has shown it to be harmful rather than beneficial – as was once believed by many Christians influenced by such teachings as “spare the rod, spoil the child” – and to have links to violence of other sorts, including spousal abuse.

Such evidence is one reason why the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children exists, and also explains why countries including Canada have imposed age restrictions. There, smacking is only legal between the ages of two and 12. In the UK, there is no bar to parents (or any babysitter who has a parent’s permission) hitting babies or older children, while the government’s recently updated definition of domestic violence includes a paragraph on adolescent abusers, and another on male victims, but almost nothing about victims under 16.

Durrant believes the real reason why hitting children is still allowed is that they lack political representatives. The “reasonable punishment” defence, she points out, dates back to ancient Rome, when it was applied to slaves, along with women and children; and a key development in the common law was the 1860 trial of Thomas Hopley, a London schoolmaster who flogged a 15-year-old boy, Reginald Cancellor, to death, in an effort to “cure” bad behaviour. While Hopley was convicted of manslaughter, the judgment asserted that “reasonable” beating was allowed – an idea subsequently exported to British colonies worldwide.

For many children, occasional displays of temper by a parent, sometimes accompanied by a light slap or uncomfortably firm hold, are part of life. What is increasingly clear is that the strenuous efforts to deny any connection between what is sometimes called a “loving smack” (that is, an occasional blow from a good parent) and “abuse”, don’t stand up. 

Research on the mistreatment of children shows that in many cases the cycle begins with punishment.
There is no guarantee that a smacking ban would lead to a diminution in the kinds of child cruelty cases that make us flinch when we read about them. But it is worth noting that Sweden, the first country in the world to outlaw hitting children, has one of the lowest child abuse and homicide rates in the world.

Change takes time and people are resistant, as the Welsh government has acknowledged, not least because we feel protective of the methods used by our own parents. But with smacking either prohibited or on the way to being so in more than 100 countries worldwide, and the UN convention on the rights of the child clear in its commitment to “end violence” of all kinds, England has some catching up to do. 

Children’s commissioners in all four nations of the UK, along with the NSPCC and campaigns including End Violence Against Women, are convinced it’s a case of when, and not if. 

Now would be good! 

The Guardian 

Out Of The Woods. Sir Arthur Williams. A hidden life of Depression and Abuse – Cherie Howie.

In the high-powered, ­influential world he spent much of his adult life, Sir ­Arthur Williams was charming and generous.

Another Sir – Robert Muldoon – was among those the married entrepreneur brought home to his family of five children. The then Finance Minister watched across the dinner table as Sir Arthur, smiling and laughing, told stories.

Also at the table was Sir Arthur’s middle child, Brent Williams.

The scene, repeated whenever the property developer philanthropist brought colleagues, church leaders, businessmen – and future Prime Ministers – to the family home in Karori was confusing and intriguing for those close to him.

“I would just sit in awe. I would just sit there thinking: ‘Who is this other man?’ He was so different, he was animated, he was fun,” ­Williams tells the Herald on Sunday.

When his father, who died at 73 in 2001, came home without guests, things were very different.

“We were physically prepared, we were verbally prepared, before he arrived. We sort of ran around like headless chickens, trying to make sure everything was perfect.”

A light left on was enough to spark his father’s rage. He would scream and shout about the waste of electricity. If all the lights were off, he’d find something else. Williams learned to hide in corners and hide under the bed from a young age.

Sir Arthur went into the ­construction business after emigrating from the United Kingdom in the late 1940s. He was later responsible for building dozens of commercial buildings in Wellington, used Valium to get through the day and tranquilisers to get through the night, Williams says.

He took all the stress in his life out on his family. “From as early as I can remember it wasn’t a case of ‘Yay, Dad’s home.’ You’d go into a state of anxiety. What was going to happen?

“There was every form of abuse, in different ways, in different forms, in different levels, but every form of violence was carried out.”

It took decades for Williams to understand the awful toll his ­childhood took.

Despite a successful career and becoming the proud dad of four children, he broke down in his late 40s.

Now he has written an ­innovative graphic novel-style memoir to help others chart their way back from depression. He hopes it will help others struggling to find their way back to health, and also lay his own ghosts to rest.

Arthur imposed his will on everything his family did – from the partners they chose, to the subjects they took at school. He even took ownership of their dreams.

“My father wanted me to be a lawyer. He told me, since the age of 5: ‘Brent’s going to be a lawyer.’ And I believed that.”

Williams went to law school, but another man with a large presence and a powerful voice lit the spark that would become his life’s work – helping the vulnerable.

“This wonderful big man came and gave a guest lecture one day and told me what he was doing with his practice in Mangere and it ­totally inspired me.

“That man was David Lange.”

The community law movement was gaining traction overseas and Williams realised he wanted to work not in a traditional legal way, but by offering people legal ­resources.

His father didn’t approve but, with law student friends, ­Williams set up a community law centre in Wellington in 1981.

They helped street kids, tenants’ groups and victims of domestic abuse and child abuse.

Later, he took his skills to the Legal ­Resources Trust and the Family Court.

But although he walked among the vulnerable, he did not count himself among their ranks.

“My work was totally my life ­experience. There was a lot of ­anger there that I was able to vent in a very constructive way by being an advocate for people who were ­vulnerable.

“But in a way it totally hid the fact that I was actually vulnerable and I’d experienced this. It was really weird to think that I was making videos that were very much based on my personal story, but I was ­totally unaware of it.”

His work revealed to him the truth he had been fighting to hide.

Williams was stressed and ­exhausted and being hard on the photographers trying to capture an image he was obsessed with – a child hiding under a bed as his ­parents screamed and shouted at each other.

“I had no awareness that it was me. Then I was getting the publication reviewed and … the woman, she just stopped and looked at me and said, ‘Now, Brent, what has brought you to this?’

“I just started crying, and that was the start of my journey.”

The first decade of the 21st ­century was coming to a close and ­Williams was about to crash. He’d been fighting it for a while – refusing to accept he was depressed. Eventually, he had to give up work.

His journey back to health would be long.

Almost a decade on, ­Williams holds firm to routines that keep him well.

But in those dark ­early days, putting his thoughts in writing was a first step, which ­eventually turned into his book.

“As time went on and I got a bit stronger, when I was partly ­acknowledging that I had this illness called depression and ­anxiety, I started doing some ­research and I started writing more, my writing had shifted from being more personal to trying to ­understand the illness.

Because of Williams’ job producing ­material to help people, it felt ­natural to get into writing a book.

“I didn’t start off writing a book. I was literally just writing to help ­myself.”

The result – Out of the Woods, out on September 19 – is as honest as it is simply told.

Williams tells his story ­entirely through 700 watercolour ­illustrations by Turkish ­artist ­Korkut Oztekin – from his ­realisation something was wrong to finding his way back to health, and the setbacks along the way.

Williams says he always knew his book had to be in pictures.

“When I was depressed I couldn’t take on board information or advice from people. I certainly couldn’t read good advice – and I think there’s a lot of good advice out there.”

Each illustration chronicles his battle to accept his illness and how he became well – neither one a neatly linear experience.

Some events are condensed – a panic ­attack over a baked beans purchase came from several events, one of which did involve buying beans.

“It’s faithful to the feelings I had. The brain is struggling so much that a simple decision becomes overwhelming and then something else can spark it – a noise, a bump, an ­unfriendly interaction.”

Other experiences are more ­palpably dark.

In one scene ­Williams, in his mid-teens, is the victim of sexual abuse – which he didn’t report to police, and didn’t plan to.

“I felt the guilt of it for so many years and here I am writing about it and still protecting him to some extent … I feel comfortable with how I’ve dealt with it.

“I don’t want to stir his reaction and I don’t really want to hurt ­anybody that doesn’t need to be hurt. It’s what happened and I’ve forgiven him.”

The book helped him forgive both the man, and his own father, Williams says.

Intially, Sir Arthur did not feature in the book. A question from his therapist changed Williams’ mind.

“She just quietly posed the question: ‘Why isn’t he in there and why won’t you talk about that event that had such a big impact on your life?’

“I went home and picked up my pen and it all came out. Draft two was a very different story.”

It was the right decision, he says.

“Without my father it wouldn’t have been a personal book. It would’ve been a story of a person pretending to be well and trying to tell other people what they should do. A pretty, clean, self-help book.

“From then on I knew it had to be very faithful to my journey, my ­inner emotional journey, my ­history, my experiences and it had to really be honest about what got me well.”

The unusual style is winning plaudits from mental health ­experts at home as well as at Stanford University in the US and ­Oxford University in the UK.

Dr Ben Beaglehole, from ­Otago University’s Department of ­Psychological Medicine, wrote the book could provide an “invaluable lifeline to those experiencing ­depression”.

For Williams, though, the ­backing of those closest to him is the most powerful validation.

“My mum, she said: ‘Write what you need to say – it needs to be said.’

“My younger sister just said, ‘Let the crows fly.’ When my mum read it, it was very emotional. She just gave me a big hug and said, ‘I love you. Thank you for writing.”

Williams still dreams about his dad, and it’s frightening, he says.

But he also thinks his dad would be proud of him for doing something that gave him back his life.

It was something Sir Arthur ­never achieved. Late in life, he struggled to get off prescription drugs and, in a single, unexpected conversation with his son, he expressed regret.

“He said, ‘I’ve filled my life with a whole lot of useless things.’ Even though he’d achieved so much building, he realised his life was not what he really wanted. In a way, I can say he would be proud of me doing something that got me well.”

Like all of us, Williams is still a work in progress.

He is well, but he has to work at it. Routine is his best friend.

“I go to the pool most mornings. I eat well, I sleep well. I’m careful about who I’m around and I go to therapy and if I do all that I’m really well and I can really see so much joy in life.”

His dad might still come to him in the night, but the rest of his life feels like when you wake from a bad dream, pull back the curtains and let sunlight flood the room.

“It’s really wonderful. Sometimes I’m sort of bursting in what I see in life – the colours, the people, smiles, little children.

“It’s just fantastic and it’s so different to a life that I was hiding from.”

NZ Herald

Out Of The Woods website. 

get it from Amazon.com

***

WHERE TO GET HELP

The following free helplines operate 24/7:

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757

LIFELINE: 0800 543 354

NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737

SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666

YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234

* If you need immediate help contact the police on 111.

FAMILY VIOLENCE – WHERE TO GET HELP

If you’re in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don’t stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it’s not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women’s Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 – 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day – 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz

• It’s Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584 • Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence

• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men’s violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

 

Abuse breeds child abusers – Jarrod Gilbert. 

Often when I’m doing research I dance a silly jig when I gleefully unearth a gem of information hitherto unknown or long forgotten. In studying the violent deaths of kids that doesn’t happen.

There was no dance of joy when I discovered New Zealanders are more likely to be homicide victims in their first tender years than at any other time in their lives. But nothing numbs you like the photographs of dead children.

Little bodies lying there limp with little hands and little fingers, covered in scratches and an array of bruises some dark black and some fading, looking as vulnerable dead as they were when they were alive.

James Whakaruru’s misery ended when he was killed in 1999. He had endured four years of life and that was all he could take. He was hit with a small hammer, a jug cord and a vacuum cleaner hose. During one beating his mind was so confused he stared blankly ahead. His tormentor responded by poking him in the eyes. It was a stomping that eventually switched out his little light. It was a case that even the Mongrel Mob condemned, calling the cruelty “amongst the lowest of any act”.

An inquiry by the Commissioner for Children found a number of failings by state agencies, which were all too aware of the boy’s troubled existence. The Commissioner said James became a hero because changes made to Government agencies would save lives in the future. Yet such horrors have continued. My colleague Greg Newbold has found that on average nine children (under 15) have been killed as a result of maltreatment since 1992 and the rate has not abated in recent years. In 2015, there were 14 such deaths, one of which was three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri, or baby Moko as we knew him when he gained posthumous celebrity.

Moko’s life was the same as James’s, and he too died in agony; he endured weeks of being beaten, kicked, and smeared with faeces. That was the short life he knew. Most of us will struggle to comprehend these acts but we are desperate to stop them. Desperate to ensure state agencies are capable of intervening to protect those who can not protect themselves and, through no fault of their own, are subjected to cruelty by those who are meant to protect them.

The reasons for intervening don’t stop with the imperative to save young lives. For every child killed there are dozens who live wretched existences and from this cohort of unfortunates will come the next generation of abusers.  Solving the problems of today, then, is not just a moral imperative but is also about producing a positive ripple effect.

And this is why, In the cases of James Whakaruru and baby Moko the best and most efficient time for intervention was not in the period leading up to their abuse, but rather many years before they were born. The men involved in each of those killing came from the same family. And it seems their lives were transient and tragic: one spent time in the now infamous Epuni Boys home, which is ground zero for calls for an inquiry into state care abuse (and incidentally the birth place of the Mongrel Mob).

Once young victims themselves, those boys crawled into adulthood and became violent men capable of imparting cruelty onto kids in their care.

This cycle of abuse is well known, yet state spending on the problem is poorly aligned to it, and our targeting of the problem is reactionary and punitive rather than proactive and preventative.

Of the $1.4 billion we spend on family and sexual violence annually, less than 10 per cent is spent on interventions, of which just 1.5 per cent is spent on primary prevention. The morality of that is questionable, the economics even more so.

Not only must things be approached differently but there needs to be greater urgency in our thinking. It’s perhaps trite to say, but if nine New Zealanders were killed every year in acts of terrorism politicians would never stop talking about it and it would be priority number one.

In an election year, that’s exactly where this issue should be. If the kids in violent homes had a voice, that’s what they’d be saying.

But if the details of such deaths don’t move our political leaders to urgent action, I rather fear nothing will. Maybe they should be made to look at the photographs.

• Dr Jarrod Gilbert is a sociologist at the University of Canterbury and the lead researcher at Independent Research Solutions.

Family violence: How you can save a life. 

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the developed world and over the Christmas and New Year period the number of incidents spikes dramatically. Less than 20 per cent of incidents are reported to the police – so what we know of what we know of family violence in our community over the festive season is barely the tip of the iceberg. Today we have a simple message – every Kiwi has a right to a safe, fear free and happy holiday. 

NZ Herald 

How 77 kids have died in NZ state care in 15 years. An average of five a year.

38 children died of natural causes while in state care, 19 died in accidents, 14 committed suicide and six were victims of child abuse, homicide or manslaughter.

The deaths are just the tip of a larger iceberg of children abused while in state care. The data disclosed 550 cases of substantiated abuse of children while in CYF care in the five years to June last year, an average of 110 cases a year.

The abuse was committed by CYF-appointed foster parents in about a third of the cases (187).

Other perpetrators were biological parents and other family members while their children were home on contact visits (164), staff of contracted support services (44), CYF staff (6) and “others” (149), who included the children’s friends and relatives and other children in their foster homes.

NZ Herald 

The reason I became a police officer — the police saved my mother’s life. 

“I know personally that it’s not just as simple as walking out the door,” says a policewoman with personal experience growing up in a violent home.

Coming from a violent home myself I have seen the devastating effects it had, and is still having on my family. I get that it can be a challenge to leave because my mum tried numerous times before she finally got away from my dad.

I know personally that it’s not just as simple as walking out the door it’s far more complicated and I understand that these challenges can stop people from asking for help.”

Sergeant Tania King. 

NZ Herald