Changing attitudes and better processes are fuelling an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents being reported, experts say.

Reported incidents of family violence in Wairarapa have increased 12 per cent this year, but the co-ordinator of the Violence Free Network, Gerry Brooking, said the increase reflected better reporting, not necessarily more abuse.

"We are seeing more family violence reported because people are speaking out more."

"It's not that there's more violence happening, it's that people are feeling safer to report - that's why we are seeing an increase."


People were more likely to speak out sooner, and a stronger network of agencies and people in the community were picking up on issues earlier, she said.

"We are seeing less serious incidents than we were ... we are working with a much more holistic approach."

The formation of inter-agency networks such as the Family Violence Intervention Group, which is comprised of police, Stopping Violence Services, Child, Youth and Family, and a number of other organisations, had helped to create a more proactive approach, Ms Brooking said.

Between 1000 to 1200 family violence incidents were reported in Wairarapa each year but only 20 per cent of family violence was being reported, she said.

Manager of Stopping Violence Services Wairarapa, an organisation which provides family support education programmes and services, Jeremy Logan said attitudes to family violence were changing.

"People are much more open to talking about it as an issue. Men are being much more supportive of White Ribbon day and recognising that as men we need to speak out about it.

"If you walk around town now many more people are wearing the white ribbon. There's a much greater awareness that family violence is not okay and people are talking about it a lot more."

"As a community we can be proud to say we are really making inroads and making a difference."

Changes made to the Domestic Violence Act this year also helped to provide better support to victims, Mr Logan said.

"There's been a lot of work put in place to make sure people who chose to leave a relationship or take out a protection order will be getting improved support and safety through that period."

But Senior Sergeant Mike Sutton said domestic violence still made up a large portion of the workload for Wairarapa police.

"In terms of what keeps our staff busy, domestic violence is one the big issues."

However, sharing information with community groups had helped to improve outcomes for families, Mr Sutton said.

In 2013, there were 95,080 family violence investigations by New Zealand Police.

Children were involved in 59,137 of these investigations.

November 25 marked White Ribbon Day, the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women.

A number of events around Wairarapa raised awareness about family violence, including the White Ribbon Relay.