Family violence investigations spiked by almost 2000 incidents over last year's Christmas and New Year period compared with the months leading up to the holidays.
So what is driving this annual surge, and what are police doing to curb the figures, and more importantly the harm?
In December 2015 police investigated 10,645 incidents, and a further 10,086 in January.
In the 10 months leading up to the holidays the average number of investigations per month was about 8900.
Police: we wish you a harm-free Christmas
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And that's only the incidents that were reported - more than 80 per cent of all family violence goes unreported in New Zealand, meaning the figures would be much higher if police were called to every event.
Alcohol, financial pressures, inter-family stress, drugs, mental health and poverty are among the main reasons violence increases over the holidays, keeping police extremely busy.
They hope two new initiatives will make a difference - but warn it will take time for results.
The first initiative is government-led and is being trialled in the Canterbury and Waikato districts.
The Integrated Safety Response model sees core government agencies - police, Child Youth and Family, Corrections, health, specialist family violence groups and kaupapa Maori services working together as a team to support victims.
The aim of the ISR is to offer a holistic approach to family violence rather than individual agencies effectively working in silos with the same victims and perpetrators.
Police have launched a similar pilot scheme that is being trialled in the Counties Manukau, Eastern and Northland districts.
These initiatives are designed and operated by police internally and are a new model for responding to family harm, in partnership with iwi, and with a particular focus on Maori victims and abusers.
The pilot at Counties, dubbed Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke, has been running for six months and the team behind it are confident they will make a big difference.
But it will take time and a complete change in mindset when it comes to family harm.
It is hoped that in time, both the ISR and the police model will be rolled out nationwide.
"It takes a victim an average of 2.7 years to make that phone call, to ask for help. Traditionally we would think 'it's just another domestic', that it was just one call, but this person has endured nearly three years of abuse before asking for help," said district programme manager Martin Bailey.
"We need to change our mindset, we need to get the full picture when it comes to family harm; when we go to an event checking the kids and if they are clothed, clean, if there is food in the fridge, if they are going to school, things like that are all indicators of what is really going on.
"Family harm is a lot bigger than just violence."
Bailey said a big change was that police would now conduct a full investigation for every family harm callout rather than just logging the incident and moving on.
"If a woman was assaulted on the street, the CIB would come along and do a full investigation - so that is what we will be doing."
Like the ISR the Harakeke team work with CYF, Corrections and local iwi and health agencies.
Each morning they hold a group meeting and run through every call for help police have received over the previous 24 hours - usually about 22 incidents a day, but the figure can double over the weekend.
The Herald attended a meeting and saw first-hand how detailed the meetings are.
Each case is discussed and all agencies are involved in deciding the best next step for victims in terms of follow-up care.
All the agencies have access to the full cache of information, allowing them to better work together.
"It has enabled us to get a better view of what the problem actually is, and how best we can tackle it," Bailey said.
"How can we work better with partner agencies and really get people doing lots of good stuff - it's about how we make it linear to get better outcomes for victims and for perpetrators."
Bailey said the team were already seeing some good results.
"There are some fantastic stories coming through, and we are going to see better and better outcomes.
"But that will take time, and we need to see the number of reports increasing, that's when we will know the message is getting through.
"We want the harm to reduce, we don't want people to wait until they've been beaten black and blue - we want to help earlier.
"Our aim is to have the number of calls go up, and the level of harm to go down. We want to make sure we have the best opportunity we can to make a difference."
24 hours in Counties Manukau
The Herald was invited to attend part of a daily meeting between police and partner agencies where all incidents of family violence in the previous 24 hours were discussed and analysed.
Each case is brought up on a big screen and all parties can give input as to their engagement with the victim or perpetrator, for example Corrections have information on current charges, bail conditions and protection orders and Child Youth and Family can speak to any interactions with the children involved.
The group then discuss the best next step - what follow-up action is needed and who will oversee it - and all decisions are documented and stored in a central data programme.
At the meeting the Herald attended the team discussed 26 incidents including:
• A man seen punching a woman in a car in a McDonald's drive-through. Police had dealt with the man 11 times previously for family violence.
• A married couple who had a fight because the husband wanted to buy a new television. His wife objected saying Christmas was coming and there was no extra money, and he started smashing up the house. The husband has 28 family violence incidents against his name.
• An estranged couple with a young baby had an argument after the woman took the infant to see its father, who she has a protection order against. The man then refused to let the woman leave with the baby and she went to the police to get help. The Harakeke team heard that he had previously assaulted the woman "seriously" including "strangling and ragdolling her around the house" when she was 33 weeks pregnant.
If you're in danger NOW:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don't stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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