Police are claiming a major turnaround in some of Hawke's Bay's serial domestic violence incidents in a project that has targeted 37 families with a combined history of 1092 "family harm" reports.
The deluge averaged almost 30 a family, or more than 10 per child across the 102 children in the families, but police 21 couples are now "violence-free", another 11 have seen a decrease in the level of violence, and there's been a 57 per cent in the number of callouts to the homes of "participants".
Among the byproducts is a near six-fold increase in employment statistics — from 8 per cent to 46 per cent, with another 8 per cent doing further training.
At the centre of the turnaround police say is Te Manu Tu Tuia, a "whanau-centric" family harm-reduction programme which started in Hawke's Bay in 2015.
One participant is quoted by police as saying: "I was in the Police car every week. It was constant. I would say I was quite aggressive but I haven't seen the Police for more than a year now".
The programme was developed by Jen Tua and Tania Luscombe, of Innov8, who led the family counselling, and Constable Sue Liley, of the Flaxmere Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT).
The results "speak for themselves," says Liley, who has been linked throughout since 2015 when she saw the need to create a course to address the high levels of family harm in the community.
It includes couples' therapy weekend retreats, follow-up counselling and support-network building, and it is the only "couples-based" course of its type.
It now also involves children and wider family help break the intergenerational cycle, the three-month course being structured to move participants through shame to being empowered to regain their mana and develop their own whanau plans.
It involves group and private sessions which help them own their history and issues, police say.
Liley and her team are said to have invested a huge amount of personal time, passion, energy and empathy, firstly in building trust with participants who previously had no trust in Police, and then in running Te Manu Tu Tuia.
"For those who have been brave enough to go through this life-changing kaupapa it has given them a brighter future together," says Liley. "It may even help turn the tide and prevent further criminal offenders coming through, full-stop.
She sees the police challenge is to keep this innovation going and work with partners, funders and the community to see that more can be safer — "which helps make our country safer."