More than 3400 domestic violence reports were made to Western Bay police in the past year - over 50 each week.

New Zealand has a shameful domestic violence record with thousands of women suffering abuse at the hands of their partners.

Figures released to the the Bay of Plenty Times show 3415 domestic violence incidents were reported in the Western Bay area in the 12 months to June 30.

In New Plymouth, police attended about 1600 incidents, compared to just over 1700 in the Nelson Bays area.


Maketu Health & Social Services Trust runs a programme for men with domestic violence problems.

"It's a 'living without violence' course, but it's Kaupapa Maori," programme facilitator Denise McEnteer said.

Up to 14 men can enrol in the programme, which has been running for one year.

"What we're teaching the men to do is providing them with different strategies of how to think differently and cope differently around anger," she said.

Ms McEnteer said a high school programme addressing anger management issues for teenage boys would help reduce New Zealand's high domestic violence rates.

Nationally, close to 90,000 domestic violence incidents were reported in the past year - more than 240 each day.

A similar number of calls were made to the Women's Refuge hotline during the same period - with nearly 86,000 crisis calls received.

Twenty-three family violence deaths were investigated by police.


Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said the sad statistics were just the tip of the iceberg.

"Only 20 per cent of domestic violence is actually reported to police in this country.

"[And] there's only 5 per cent take up of protection orders."

This had to change if we were to address violence against women, Ms Henare said. "There's a lot of emphasis at the moment around women needing to make better decisions.

"It's still putting the responsibility of the violence back in the women's hands - that's what's the most frustrating thing," she said.

"The only people that can stop violence to women in this country are the men that are doing it."

Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of international White Ribbon Day, which aims to eliminate violence towards women.

Brian Gardner of the National Network of Stopping Violence, Te Kupenga, said anti-violence measures had to protect both women and children in vulnerable situations.

"We applaud [Social Development] Minister Paula Bennett's heartfelt desire to protect New Zealand's children from violence, but unless we protect their mothers and hold their fathers accountable for their violence, men, women and children will continue to be killed and traumatised," Mr Gardner said.

The Government's White Paper on Vulnerable Children proposes new measures to reduce the nation's child abuse figures.

Suggestions for channge included a database of 30,000 vulnerable children and families and protection orders against known child abusers.

Domestic violence

  • One in three women experience psychological or physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime.

  • On average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a family member each year.

  • On average, 224 women and children seek a Women's Refuge bed each night.

  • Last financial year, Refuge advocates responded to 30,648 police referrals.Source: Women's Refuge

If you or someone you know is being abused - tell someone.

  • Police: 111

  • Women's Refuge helpline: 0800 REFUGE

  • Family Violence information line: 0800 456 450