Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Combined effort to stop domestic violence

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Since getting out of jail, Hastings man Richard is getting help to make his home violence-free for his partner and their six children.

Christmas is the busiest time for agencies dealing with domestic violence, and in December and January last year Hawke's Bay police dealt with the highest number of incidents ever reported.

Yesterday, local agencies were out delivering Christmas gift hampers to 20 families who had taken steps to make their homes happier and violence-free.

Richard, who did not want his last name used, said he had cleaned up his act for his family.

"I am addressing my issues because I have been in and out of jail and that's not the way to be safe around kids," he said.

Through local police and probation services he had been connected with alcohol, drug and violence counselling.

"It's about stopping the violence. Violence doesn't pay, it breaks the family up, it causes a lot of friction and I'm thinking it's good to be a safe family and communicate with your wife and kids instead of using tough love."

Detective Sergeant Darren Pritchard of the Family Violence Team said his group had joined local agencies Dove Hawke's Bay, Child, Youth and Family, Hawke's Bay District Health Board's Mental Health and Addiction services, Department of Corrections and Women's Refuge to produce the packages.

"We have got donations from Watties, Countdown, Quality Bakers and all these agencies working in the field to deliver to the families who have made some effort to stop violence in the home," he said.

The expense of Christmas, child-custody arrangements, relationships ending and visiting relatives often resulted in an emotional, psychological and physical cost.

"The whole operation is about safe families and these ones have made some changes in their lives and relationships to the agencies and our message is we want them to have a safe and happy Christmas."

Mr Pritchard said the dynamics of family violence were complex and changes took long-term commitment.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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