Reporting of domestic violence has increased markedly in Wairarapa -- but leading agencies fear there are still thousands more families in the region suffering in silence.
The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse (FVC) has released its statistics on incidences of family violence between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015, as reported to police, social services, community support agencies and DHBs.
Nationally, there were 101,981 family violence incidents investigated by police, up from 87,000 in 2012.
The FVC found a 20 per cent increase in family violence-related incidences in Wairarapa, with police and social services recording around 1200 cases in the past year. Of those, 73 per cent involved children.
Wairarapa Violence Free Network co-ordinator Gerry Brooking said the increase was likely down to increased reporting -- with more people feeling "safer" about disclosing violence to community services.
"From what we've seen here, people are more prepared to talk about family violence, and are reporting earlier," Ms Brooking said.
"Things like the It's Not Ok campaign and having a domestic violence helpline have helped.
"When it comes to family violence, there's less emphasis on shame and blame -- and more on actually getting help."
But, Ms Brooking said, the latest figures barely scratch the surface.
Throughout the country, police estimate only one in five cases of domestic abuse are brought to their attention, or to the attention of care agencies.
"So, if that's the case, we've got something like 6000 cases in Wairarapa -- the cases only friends and family know about. It's a scary thought."
She said there are many reasons a person won't disclose the abuse -- fear for their safety, lack of financial means to leave the relationship, or the hope "things will get better".
"There's a lot of promises in violent relationships -- the abuser will say he'll change, or that he only did it because he was drunk."
Family members are also reticent about reporting -- and attitudes play a part, Ms Brooking said.
"Some family members might say, 'you've made your bed, lie in it'.
"Families have helped a person leave a relationship, but give up when they go back.
"On average, it takes about seven tries to leave a violent relationship."
In order to increase reporting, she said communities need to take responsibility for the issue of violence.
"Our community networks need to be doing their bit."