Today alone, police will be called around 200 times to an incident of domestic violence – that’s an average of one call every seven minutes.
In New Zealand, one in three women will experience psychological or physical abuse from a partner in their lifetime.
Police say that in domestic violence arrests, on average 84 percent of those are men, and 16 percent are women.
Men suffer from domestic abuse, but police say that the embarrassment will usually stop them coming forward until it is severe. They claim that while the majority of domestic violence victims are women, abuse of men happens far more often than people may expect.
It’s estimated by police that only 18 percent of all domestic violence incidents are reported.
There are organisations worldwide who offer support for domestic abuse victims. Women’s Refuge is the most significant family violence organisation in New Zealand, with a 40-year history of providing comprehensive services for women and children.
Karis Vesey, Support Worker at Women’s Refuge Auckland, says: “In four years of working here, I have seen everything from women stabbed with screwdrivers, teeth smashed out with bricks; women bound, gagged and raped in front of their children to them being locked in chest freezers to die.”
Police say that at least 74,785 children under the age of 17 are present when incidents of domestic violence happen.
“I have witnessed women jumping from high buildings and breaking numerous bones in the process, just to escape their partners. Women often say that they would rather be physically abused than psychologically because it makes them feel as if they are going mad and losing their mind,” says Vesey.
She adds: “I have been to court on numerous occasions where women have to relive every nightmare they went through. If it’s to do with rape, they have to describe every single detail to the point where they will throw up.
“Sometimes a woman will go through all of that torture just for the Judge to let the guy off – saying he is not guilty as there is not enough evidence.”
Women’s Refuge statistics shows that on average, 14 women, six men and 10 children will be killed by a member of their family this year.
Vesey adds: “When we use statistics it numbs people from the fact that these numbers represent mums, aunties, nanas and children.
“Personally I think it takes away the focus on the people who have struggled the agonising pain and also those who have lost their lives. Domestic violence statistics can make these people into a number when their existence is so much more.”
Where to get help
Contact local police, or:
• Phone the Women’s Refuge Crisis line: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843
• Confide in someone you trust
• If you have concerns for your safety – or someone else’s – call 111 immediately.
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