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Survey reveals extent of offences by family members

19 February 2020

Almost 80,000 adults were offended against by a family member in 2018, according to the Ministry of Justice’s latest report Offences by Family Members.

The report, which comes off the back of the 2018 New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey, also notes that just over 100,000 adults who had a partner in the last 12 months had experienced psychological violence by that partner.

Figures from the report show:

  • Māori adults (4%) were found to be more at-risk of experiencing family member violence than European adults (2%).
  • Adult females (2.8%) were more than twice as likely to report offences by family members than adult males (1.2%).
  • People aged between 15 and 29 were 1.7 times as likely to report offences by family members than New Zealand average.
  • Quite often victims are injured (23%) and require medical attention for mental, emotional or physical health issues (15%) but only one in three offences by family members are reported to Police.

“The report is important because it provides precise, national level information about violence committed within families,” says James Swindells, the Ministry’s Manager of Research and Evaluation.

“It tells us more about the nature of this type of offending and gives those leading interventions in this area the evidence they need to refine initiatives or develop new ones and to monitor the impact of this work.

“Our findings show that victims of offences by family members experienced moderate-to-high levels of psychological distress, at more than four times the rate of other adults (37% compared to 8%). Data like this helps people understand the needs of those affected by violence and links with things like mental illness.”

The report also identifies that adults facing high levels of financial stress are more vulnerable to offending by family members. For example, adults who could not afford a non-essential item costing $300 in the next month were five times as likely to have experienced an offence by a family member in the past year than those who could afford the item.

Last updated on the 20th February 2020