Last week, a nurse at Rotorua police station spoke to a man who did not know families went on outings, and another who did not know what a GP was.
"He said, Sarah, I didn't know you could have family time, that you could go to the lake and have a picnic with your kids," Rotorua Area Primary Health Services (RAPHS) nurse practitioner Sarah Barkley said.
"My family just used to get pissed."
This was one of the many, mostly men, Barkley spoke to on a daily basis in her new role at the police station.
RAPHs and Rotorua police have co-funded a specialised mental health, family harm and addiction nurse at the custody block.
The two organisations had worked on the concept this year and the service has been in action for just over a month.
The position was created with a backdrop of shocking, and rising, family harm statistics, with 13,219 family harm investigations carried out in the Bay of Plenty last year.
Six cases of family harm are heard in the Bay of Plenty courts every day - the highest rate in the country.
Lakes DHB previously had a nurse who spent time at the stations but stopped this several years ago.
Barkley's role was to connect those who needed help to other supports and agencies, in the hope it would avoid future jail time and break the inter-generational cycle of offending and risk which is linked to trauma and abuse.
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She spent about four hours a day in total at the custody block.
She sat with the offenders and worked to unpack the underlying issues of how they ended up there.
"Often the people that go through custody are repeat offenders and haven't recognised that something isn't right and keep doing the same things ... they often don't know another way of being."
Distress and stress was high in the cells and mental health issues and trauma often riddled the predominantly young men she saw, she said.
Barkley said as she sat with people in custody, she could help them see what help they needed and arrange referrals to mental health services and doctor appointments.
"Some people don't even know what a GP is," she said.
"I work with people to restore their mana, help them feel better, and improve their overall wellbeing."
Barkley had also managed to get through to high-end family harm offenders whom police had previously struggled to engage with, said acting Rotorua police area commander Inspector Phil Taikato.
He said high-end offenders, especially family violence and harm offenders, became emotional and vulnerable once they were in the cells and had cooled down.
This small window of time was where police felt was the best time to engage and hoped to build a relationship of communication.
"Then we can see behavioural change and stop them coming through our cells and stop the harm in the families and communities."
Taikato said the fight against family harm was a long-term one, and success would be seen in behavioural changes.
"When we talk about success with family harm, it doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Quite frankly it's still going to happen."
A neighbour calling in about a family harm incident followed by police struggling to arrest a violent perpetrator was the starting point.
Success would be next time police arrived, it would be a conversation instead of confrontation, or the victim calling the police instead of the neighbour, Taikato said.
"It's a much better investment to support people to be well than to be in jail," said RAPHS chief executive Kirsten Stone.
Stone said many issues which caught the attention of police had aspects of unaddressed mental health, addictions and social need.
"By supporting better mental wellness through responsive and connected services, we can improve outcomes and wellbeing for our whole community."
The DHB currently provided acute mental health response to people in custody with a moderate to severe mental disorder or distress.