A senior Hamilton police officer is warning women to get out of threatening or abusive relationships before it's too late after two serious domestic violence incidents in the city.
Hamilton city area commander Inspector Rob Lindsay says that on average a woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner every five weeks in New Zealand, and about 10 children die every year as a result of domesticviolence.
He urged people who found themselves in deteriorating domestic situations to take advantage of the "It's Not OK" family violence campaign taking place this month.
His advice was echoed by Matamata grandfather David White, whose daughter Helen Meads was shot and killed by her husband, Greg Meads, when she tried to leave their marriage in September 2009.
Mr White, who has recently become an ambassador for White Ribbon - a campaign led by men who condemn violence against women - said domestic violence was increasing and he believed a woman now died at the hands of a partner as often as every four weeks.
"It is very common for men to make threats to stop the woman from leaving," Mr White said.
"Time and again I've had women tell me he was going to burn the flat down or kill her if she left. And because he's lost his temper and made threats in the past, it's just another time that he's flipped his lid and they tend not to take them seriously.
"Unfortunately, too often they do carry it out."
Mr Lindsay's plea yesterday follows two recent incidents of domestic violence in Waikato.
In the first, police were called when a man allegedly threatened to kill his estranged partner after she arrived at his home in Forest Lake to pick up their son about 4pm on Wednesday. She says he threatened to shoot her.
Police tried to negotiate with the man before the Waikato armed offenders squad stormed the Denz St property.
No gun was found in a prolonged search of the surrounding area.
The woman and child were not injured, but police arrested the man and another who was asleep at the property, who they say was found with a quantity of methamphetamine in his possession.
The pair appeared in the Hamilton District Court yesterday on threatening to kill and drugs charges.
In the second incident less than 12 hours later, a woman fled her home when her partner threatened to kill himself in front of her and her children.
Police were called by the woman after she escaped the Glenview house, seeking refuge at a nearby service station about 2.15am yesterday.
Mr Lindsay said it appeared the woman's partner had been drinking and smoking cannabis during the night.
At one stage he held a knife to his own throat, threatening to kill himself in front of her and her children.
"The woman wisely contacted a relative to pick them up and take them to safety and police were called," Mr Lindsay said.
The man was arrested and underwent a psychiatric assessment yesterday.
Mr Lindsay said police were highlighting the incidents to give the public an insight into the types of domestic violence officers dealt with daily and to warn women.
"Domestic violence can affect all levels of society and often, drugs, alcohol or both are contributing factors in deteriorating situations," the police commander said.
White Ribbon Day is on November 25. For information about events throughout the country to mark the day, visit whiteribbon.org.nz