Domestic violence skyrockets in Bay

KELLY BURNS
Domestic violence in Hawke's Bay has rocketed, with last month reporting the the highest ever number of incidents.
In November 169 cases of domestic incidents were recorded, with 127 in December to date.
Over the past five years, "domestics" in November averaged 72, with 95 in December.
Senior Sergeant Greg Brown of the Hastings police said while the statistics seemed alarming, it indicated that confidence in reporting family violence was growing, which was good. The number of the domestic incidents reported included domestic arguments where no assault had taken place.
Mr Brown said it was a misconception that victims choose whether to prosecute. He said the police had the responsibility to ensure a prosecution went ahead, a decision made on the evidence available during the investigation.
He said recent court decisions supported the use of hearsay evidence to prove the police case, enabling convictions, when a victim either refused or was intimidated into not giving evidence. The recent decisions helped police to enable victims to take a stand on repeat abuse.
Mr Brown said Hastings police reviewed all cases of violence weekly, ensuring priority was given to investigating cases that required action. He said arrests were made whenever possible.
Last week representatives from the police, Dove HB, CYFS and Women's Refuge met to discuss the strategies being driven nationally on a combined agency response to family violence. The strategies recognised the risks posed to not only the victim, but also the ongoing effects on families and particularly the children. The group of local representatives will meet early in the New Year to confirm the local response to family violence from these agencies.

Mr Brown said a lot of work had gone into working with families and victims to reduce the incidence of family violence, but the new initiative would see a lot more collaboration that would ultimately stop the harm caused by family violence.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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