The court sees only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to family harm cases, Judge Gerard Lynch said in Dannevirke District Court on Monday.
Appearing on charges of assault, breaches of a protection order and escaping police custody was Dannevirke man Paris Glynn Tamati Lloyd, 29.
Lloyd escaped from custody after appearing in court on July 8 when he was remanded in custody for a further hearing. It was while he was being led from the courthouse to a police van that Lloyd sprinted off into Dannevirke's main street and disappeared.
He was arrested on July 23 and was returned into custody.
On Monday he handed a letter to police apologising to the duty officer from whom he escaped.
At Lloyd's sentencing Judge Lynch credited him with taking part in a what was a productive restorative justice conference with his partner and for taking part in the Man Up programme while in custody.
However, the probation service came under fire for interviewing Lloyd for a pre-sentence report via phone.
"It's hard to assess remorse over the phone. This was a poor show by Corrections," Judge Lynch said.
Judge Lynch said Lloyd and his partner had been in a relationship for 18 months.
During that time there had been nine incidents of family harm leading to a protection order being issued in April.
Lloyd breached the protection order three times, the first time pushing his partner to the ground.
The second time he messaged her saying he was coming home.
"She told you not to but you went to the house and started banging on the door. When she told you to go away you threw a chair at the house."
Judge Lynch said in June Lloyd was at the victim's home.
"She wanted to leave but you wouldn't let her. You took a guitar stand and hit her in the chest with it and hit her again three times. She was left marked and bruised."
Judge Lynch said Lloyd had recognised he had personal issues that he needed to address and he needed individual counselling.
"You have managed to stay clear of drugs and your motivation is that you want your relationship to continue and to have contact with your children. But a condition of that is that you stay clean and sober."
He said Lloyd had apologised to his partner and he wanted to regain her trust.
He recognised that his offending had affected his children.
"You know you must address your addiction issues if you want the relationship to continue.
"Your thinking is that you and your partner need to move from Dannevirke and the negative influences here.
"What the probation report says is that you need to not just talk the talk but walk the talk."
Judge Lynch said at the age of 29 Lloyd needs to look at the direction he is heading in.
"You are caught up in a cycle of drugs, arrest and jail."
He said while the court's role in sentencing was to denounce and deter offending, it was also about rehabilitation.
"You have told probation that you are keen on rehabilitation. You are an intelligent man so you need to address your addiction and when you do the violence will fall by the wayside."
In sentencing Lloyd to 18 months jail Judge Lynch also remitted outstanding fines of $4262.
Cody Isaac Harrison, 26, shearer, Dannevirke, also faced a charge of assaulting a family member.
The court was told Harrison's partner was using her phone in bed at 2am.
Judge Lynch said Harrison became annoyed and there was a struggle over the phone.
"You pushed her multiple times, leaving her with a cut lip, a sore face and scratches."
Judge Lynch said family harm was a real issue in communities.
"This is the mother of your child and if she should be able to trust anyone it should be you."
He warned Harrison if there were any more family harm incidents he would be looking at jail.
Harrison was sentenced to 80 hours community work, nine months supervision and ordered to undertake any family programmes as directed by the probation service.