Victims knew their assailants in more than two-thirds of the violent crimes in the Bay of Plenty, new figures reveal.
In 68 per cent of the police district's 246 acts intended to cause injury this June, the victims knew the offenders, the data published by Statistics New Zealand showed.
In 43 per cent of cases the victim and offender were family.
The victim also knew their offender in the district's only homicide or related offence this June, in 12 of its 18 sexual assaults and 12 of its 54 burglaries.
Bay of Plenty prevention manager, Inspector Steve Bullock said police had long known there was often a close association between offenders and their victims, particularly in terms of violence and sexual offending but new ways of presenting crime statistics introduced last year provided a more detailed picture of the relationship.
"The greater the understanding of those relationships, the more we can identify ways to work with the public and our partners to address the issues," he said.
Police were striving to foster greater trust and confidence so victims knew they would be treated professionally and with empathy, Mr Bullock said.
"Prevention remains our focus and the community can do a great deal to assist us with early intervention. We want victims to have the confidence to seek help before a situation escalates. That may be as simple as confiding in a friend or seeking help from one of the numerous agencies that can provide support and advice. We understand that not everyone feels comfortable with the police as the first step.
"It is also important for everyone in the community to look out for one another, to recognise when someone needs help or is suffering in silence and reach out to them or report their concerns," he said.
Only 20 per cent of family violence is believed to be reported to police.
Tauranga Women's Refuge manager Angela Warren-Clark said the figures lined up with what she was seeing.
"While there is a lot of stranger violence happening out there, for 68 to 70 per cent of reported violent crime to be committed by someone the victim knows makes sense.
"That's because one of the things we know is the most dangerous place to be for some women in our community is in their own home," she said.
- Additional reporting Sandra Conchie
By the numbers
Nationwide as at June 2015:
•69 per cent of offenders in 2313 acts of violence were known to their victims
•In 38 per cent of the country's 21 homicide and related offences victims and offenders knew each other
•In 9 per cent of New Zealand's 558 burglary cases this June, the victims knew the offenders.
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