The number of people threatening self-harm in calls to the Department of Inland Revenue has trended down consistently over the last three years, IRD deputy commissioner, corporate integrity and assurance, Mary Craig, says.
“There are still too many, but this is an encouraging trend that we hope continues,” Ms Craig says.
In the calendar year 2016 there were 334 threats of self-harm in calls; down to 306 in 2017; and 182 to 28 August this year. Of those approximately half were reported to Police.
“Our staff have been encouraged to take a consistent approach to these difficult calls that aims to help rather than exacerbate each situation,” she says.
“But a key to avoiding these situations can be for people to engage early with IR so that we can help them avoid getting to the point of desperation with debt. We can and do help people resolve difficult situations all the time.
“The most important thing is that they don’t need to lose hope because there are options we can discuss with them.”