Kia ora tātou. As I write this, we've just completed our first week in level 3 and things have been mostly good. We did have to charge a local male during level 4 for breaching the lockdown, even after repeated education and warnings.
However we have had a big spike in family harm recently with 19 cases last week which is a lot.
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While in some cases it's hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why, I've gone through all the incidents with my family harm officers and some are lockdown related. In quite a few, the people involved have been from outside Tūrangi and staying with relatives here for the lockdown. They've been confined to an unfamiliar town unable to get and about and tempers have started to fray.
There have also been a couple of our high-risk families that have needed our help during alert level 4. One man has been charged with a serious assault. In another, we were able to get a temporary protection order for the victim and the offender moved away. So although these were bad cases we also had some good wins in terms of support and working with them. Ideally of course we would know about these potential family harm situations before any offences happened so that we could get the right people and agencies involved.
We have some really good groups here to work with our community available at any time to provide help and support but in my experience it can take a long time for our vulnerable victims and their partners to open up that door to us. There are a lot of factors that can prevent people asking for help and self-esteem can be one of them.
It's good when we can get protection orders and empower our people. Recently I saw one of the women we dealt with last year and she's now in Australia and doing really well. We worked hard to get her away from the problems she had here. She realised she needed to get out otherwise the cycle would just repeat, and it turned out to be the best thing for her and her kids.
I had a couple of weeks' leave during lockdown and during that time police held a disruption day on April 22 when a whole lot of staff came from Taupō and Rotorua to assist us in executing warrants, visiting family harm victims, conducting compliance checks on liquor premises and holding checkpoints.
During this operation two local men were arrested in association with burglaries of two local businesses and a local woman with possession of cannabis for supply. We will be holding more of these disruption days in the near future.
As you all know, we're now at level 3 and compliance so far has been good although people need to realise they are not supposed to be travelling around unless it's getting essential items (which KFC and McDonald's is not), going to school, work or exercise. Keep that social distancing going, wash your hands and hold off on the parties please. To quote the politicians: "don't be an idiot, stick to your bubble and everyone will be better off".
Finally, a nod to those local businesses such as Tūrangi Bakery who are operating under level 3 and doing a sterling job of looking after their customers while also keeping the social distancing going. Kia kaha everyone.
Kia pai tō wiki, Te Reipa.
Family harm: need help?
¦ Shine, free helpline 9am-11pm daily — 0508 744 633, www.2shine.org.nz
¦ Women's Refuge: Free 24/7 crisis line — 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843, www.womensrefuge.org.nz
¦ It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450, www.areyouok.org.nz
¦ Tu Wāhine Trust — call 09 838 8700 for kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for sexual harm survivors and violence within whānau.
¦ Hey Bro helpline — call 0800 HeyBro (0800 439 276) 24/7 help for men who feel they're going to harm a loved one or whānau member.
¦ Need to Talk? 1737 — free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.