The launch of new family violence project Tu Mai Awa in Hawke's Bay next weekend comes at a time when the system itself could be thwarting the thousands of people trying to fix the problems.

That's the view of Tu Mai Awa supporter and White Ribbon Trust ambassador Mark Longley, who found his way into the family violence field as he grappled with what to do to make a better society after teenage daughter Emily was strangled to death by obsessed boyfriend Elliot Turner at his parents' home in England six years ago.

Speaking from his home on Auckland's North Shore and headed to Hawke's Bay for next Saturday's launch at Matahiwi Marae, on the outskirts of Clive, career journalist Mr Longley said statistics are inadequate, the number of organisations in the field, while full of committed and seriously concerned people, are far too many and need to be more "cohesive".

He also says that while the increased recognition of victims and focus on them is good, there's far too little attention being paid to those likely to become domestic violence offenders.


"One of the things I do is talk in schools about respectful relationships, and you do need to educate men," he said. "A relationship is a two-way thing, and no one is in charge.

"Yes, we do have a big, big problem with family violence, and getting people to talk about it has been a progressive step," he said.

"But it's not the only step. It is very difficult talking about it when you are in an abusive relationship, and where can you go and what do you do if you've been told all your life that you're useless and ugly.

"You've got a huge fragmentation of services across New Zealand all doing good stuff, and Tu Mai Awa will be trying to get some cohesion."

A missing fragment, he says, is that dealing with men.

"There's no Alcoholics Anonymous for abusive men. Why would they hurt someone they love? Who would you go to? Your doctor? They usually only get picked up when they're arrested. Too late."

He says the number of organisations "does dilute the pot" of resources available, and while there's a lot of focus on achieving the "KPIs", he adds: "The figures just aren't coming down."

Figures released recently show police had a record 118,910 "family violence investigations" last year, taking up 41 per cent of the average frontline officer's workload, and representing a 70 per cent increase over the number a decade ago.


While the Eastern Police District ranks 10th in population of the 12 districts throughout the country, it ranked a little higher at eighth based on the number of "family violence investigations" with 9932 in the last year on record, a 112 per cent increase on the number 10 years ago.

Comparatively speaking that meant about 265 investigations per 10,000 people nationally, but about 492 per 10,000 in the Eastern district.

The Family Violence Clearinghouse warns, however, in "an important note on interpreting the data" that the figures cannot be used as "indicators of the incidence of family violence or violence against women in the population", nor to "comment on trends in the occurrence of family violence over a time".

Case example is that the figures show the proportion of "investigations" which ended with "no offence recorded" has risen over the last decade by almost half, from 45 per cent to 65 per cent.

Of the 118,910 "investigations" last year, 77,381 ended with "no offence recorded", a figure of which Mr Longley was unaware, and there were 41,079 where at least one offence was recorded.

Court figures for the same year show 6086 prosecutions for male assaulting female, over 1000 less than in 2007 but the greatest number otherwise since 2012.

The Family Court dealt with 5461 protection order applications, a small number taken out by men against women, and there were 5437 prosecutions for breaches of protection orders.