The fourth report from the Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) calls for a radical change in the way New Zealand responds to its most dangerous and chronic cases of family violence.
The FVDRC urges organisations to take more responsibility for preventing abusers from using violence, rather than expecting the victims of family violence to take action to keep themselves and their children safe.
The FVDRC calls for a stronger collective response to family violence from the police, the justice system, support services and the general public.
Its recommendations include legal changes to protect the victims of family violence, including those who retaliate against their abuser after years of violence.
The FVDRC is an independent committee that advises the Health Quality & Safety Commission on how to reduce the number of family violence deaths and prevent family violence. Its fourth annual report analyses data collected on all family violence homicides that took place over a four-year period, and from 17 in-depth regional reviews of family violence deaths.
From 2009 to 2012, 139 people died from family violence and family violence-related homicides – an average of 35 per year.
Of the 139 deaths, 126 were within the FVDRC’s terms of reference. Of those 126 deaths:
The Chair of the FVDRC, Associate Professor of Law Julia Tolmie, says many New Zealanders have no experience of life without family violence.
"Children are conceived and born into families that already have a dangerous level of abuse," she says.
"If we are to be serious about addressing the unacceptably high incidence and seriousness of family violence in New Zealand, we need to take responsibility for victims’ safety rather than expecting them to keep themselves safe."
The FVDRC’s recommendations include the following:
The Family Violence Death Review Committee’s Fourth Annual Report: January 2013 to December 2013 is available by clicking the link below.
Women’s Refuge free Crisis line - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
SHINE Free National Helpline 0508 744 633 (9am - 11pm, 7 days a week)
The Family Violence Information Line 0800 456 450 (9am - 11pm, 7 days a week)