The Christmas holiday period traditionally corresponds with a rise in family violence and this year's holiday has been no different.
Domestic violence and disputes increased over Christmas as predicted, police confirmed yesterday, while the Women's Refuge is bracing for an influx of people needing somewhere safe to stay.
Senior sergeant Wayne Lambert said police were kept busy on Christmas Day .
"Police [were] extremely busy with these sudden deaths in Omokoroa and the accident in Welcome Bay and a quite a few cases of domestic assault.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />
"We do get an increase in family violence around Christmas, more than other times of the year. I don't know the number of cases but there was quite a few and various levels of assault," he said.
The incidents mostly involved adults, he said, and alcohol was a contributing factor in most cases.
Statistics obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times from the New Zealand Police show that nationally, for the 2010/11 fiscal year, there were 52,408 recorded domestic violence offences.
Gavin Knight, national statistics manager, said domestic violence call-outs could refer to a variety of incidents.
"The term 'family violence' includes violence which is physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, and includes intimidation or threats of violence,," he said.
The statistics show the monthly average for domestic violence call-outs from July 2010 to June 2011 was around 4367, while the December figure showed a marked yearly peak of 5038.
Hazel Hape of the Tauranga Women's Refuge said the statistics were indicative of the summer spike the shelter sees every year.
'Twelve months of the year refuges are busy, but I would say it's after New Years that things start to get pressure-cooker for families. Things escalate.
"Between December and January and February, in those three months there's an increase," she said.
While the calls and referrals have not yet begun, there would invariably be more women and children through the doors in the coming weeks.
"We find after the New Year's period it starts to spike. Things such as alcohol, unemployment, lack of money are contributing factors [to domestic violence]. They put extra stress on families," she said.
The Tauranga refuge will support around 100 families who have been victims of family violence in the coming months, with around a quarter of those families housed in the refuge's safe house.
Domestic Violence Statistics
Month (for fiscal 2010/11 year) - Recorded family violence incidents nationally
July 2010 4398
August 2010 4577
September 2010 4432
October 2010 4468
November 2010 4440
December 2010 5038
January 2011 4773
February 2011 4259
March 2011 4258
April 2011 3810
May 2011 3976
June 2011 3979