Domestic violence agency seeing higher level of violence and more complex cases, calls for fundraising assistance

  • Reported family harm incidents increased by 7,688 to 172,727 in 2021 compared with 2020 (4.7% increase year on year).
  • In 2021, 31 victims of family violence suffered firearm-related domestic abuse.
  • One in three women in New Zealand experience physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

Leading specialist family violence agency Shine is highlighting a major concern with escalating levels of violence and complexity of family violence cases over the last 12 months.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, the stress of lockdowns, housing insecurity and the rising cost of living are adding to the complexity of family violence and further reducing the choices people have available to them. We’re concerned by the complexity and severity of incidents, particularly in relation to the latest New Zealand Police statistics,” says Shine Senior Family Violence Adviser and Light It Orange spokesperson Rachel Kain.

According to the statistics*, domestic violence incidents increased by 7,688 to 172,727 in 2021 compared with 2020. It also shows that of 4,212 firearms-related occurrences reported to Police in 2021, nearly 500 were related to family harm*, with 31 victims suffering firearm-related domestic abuse. “Thirty-one people suffering violent firearm related domestic assault is thirty-one too many,” Kain said.

One Shine client, Shay* nearly died in a firearm-related assault. During the assault which lasted more than an hour, her assailant repeatedly pushed her into the floor, strangled her and held his gun against her throat. Shay ended up with two brain bleeds, a concussion that lasted months, burst blood vessels in her eyes, torn ligaments in her elbow and lacerations and bruises all over her body.

Shine is hearing more stories like Shay’s, and worryingly, the agency is also seeing a marked increase in the number of young clients being referred to or reaching out to the service.

Shine provides a full range of support for victims like Shay, from the initial crisis response, providing critical care packs to help with emergency situations, immediate assistance through the Shine helpline, refuge and temporary accommodation, referring people to counselling, support applying for legal aid, and emotional support during the crisis and long-term recovery.

“We are asking the community for help so we can continue to provide the best quality of care and support for people escaping these horrific situations,” says Kain.

“With one in three women in New Zealand experiencing physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime, chances are it’s happened to someone you know, and your donation could be helping your friend, neighbour, colleague or family member.”

Inspector Natasha Allan of New Zealand Police said a multi-disciplinary approach is crucial to addressing the complexity and severity of family harm. “Working with families and whanau, communities, and organisations like Shine to respond to family harm is crucial to keeping families and communities safe,” Inspector Allan said.

Light it Orange is Shine’s annual fundraising appeal. This year the focus of the campaign is for Kiwis to understand how their donations to Light It Orange help to “Stop the Violence.”

  • $30 assists a victim of domestic violence to get a protection order.
  • $60 assists in creating a safety plan for a victim of domestic violence.
  • $120 assists with the cost of a critical care pack.
  • $250 assists a family escaping domestic violence into emergency accommodation.
  • $10,000 assists a family in danger of repeated violence to relocate to another town or city.

Light it Orange runs from 13th until 19th June 2022 and donations can be made via the website:

*Statistics released under the Official Information Act and Daily Occurrences of Crime and Family Violence Investigations | New Zealand Police

*Such as when a firearm is discovered in the course of a family harm incident.

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