On July 1, the Family Violence Act 2018 replaced the Domestic Violence Act 1995, and Hawke's Bay police say it will go some way to rectify the region's alarming family violence statistics.

According to Eastern Police, the region still has highest rate of family harm incidents per 10,000 population in New Zealand.

In Hawke's Bay the family harm team is attending an average of 20 family harm incidents a day with the numbers showing no signs of abating.

Eastern District prevention manager Inspector Dean Clifford said Hawke's Bay police have an ongoing commitment to getting better outcomes for the Bay's young people, their families and communities, and the legislative changes will provide them further opportunities to do this.


"We're continuing to work with our wider sector partners on a daily basis to ensure we have an integrated response to how we address family violence.

"The recent changes to Police Safety Orders, information sharing and protection for victims are part of a fundamental shift in the way family harm is addressed both in our Hawke's Bay community and nationally.

"In the coming months Police will be more appropriately placed to provide data on outcomes relating to the latest changes."

The new Family Violence Act will give decision-makers in the family violence system better guidance about the nature and impact of family violence.

The act enables the family violence sector to have a more consistent response to victims and those who inflict family violence.

It updates the definition of family violence to better reflect how controlling behaviour can be used over time to frighten a victim and undermine their autonomy.

It provides a set of principles to guide decision making and support a consistent, appropriate and timely response for all.

It names 10 government agencies and a range of social service practitioners as Family Violence Agencies and makes a range of changes to Protection Orders to improve uptake and effectiveness and increase the safety of protected people.


It also clarifies that a carer can also be in a close personal relationship with the person they care for.

And it increases the maximum duration of Police Safety Orders and also increases support for bound people removing legal barriers to information sharing between agencies to increase victims' safety.