New Zealand's first service offering 24-hour counselling and accommodation to men removed from their homes for committing family violence is expanding.

Gandhi Nivas first opened in Otahuhu in December 2014 as a place where men could stay for free when ordered away from their homes for up to five days under public safety orders.

Police called for the service after noting many men would sleep rough when serving a public safety order and return home angry.

Gandhi Nivas offers them a place to cool down and get help to change their behaviours, from trained counsellors and social workers, before going back to their families.


With more than 1000 men having been supported since 2014, the service is now set to officially open its second centre in Te Atatu tomorrow.

While some initially criticised Gandhi Nivas for focusing on the perpetrators of family violence, founder Ranjna Patel says it is critical to work with these men to bring about change.

"We are giving them tools to understand what has happened," she said.

"Because 95 per cent of people will go home again, and they are not equipped with how to deal with the situation when it happens again."

Yet the service doesn't just work with men - it also works with their families.

When men are brought in by police, counsellors also check on the victims of the violence.

"Police statistics tell us only 12 per cent of women actually make the call for help," she said.

"So if a woman has actually made the call, it is important a counsellor sees them to understand how they can be helped."


And early results have been encouraging, showing a substantial reduction in the number of men offending after intervention.

The service will also soon expand to three centres, with another free accommodation and counselling service planned for Papakura next month.

Yet Gandhi Nivas' biggest success so far was that men were increasingly ringing on their own accord to ask if they could spend the night at the centre because they could see they were about "to snap", Patel said.

"To me that has been the success, probably more than 100 men have been saved from reoffending and they've done it themselves," she said.

"We've done nothing - we've just been the listening board the counselling board that has been able to help them."