Domestic Violence Facts & Statistics

The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act (1995) defines domestic (or family) violence as ‘violence against a person by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a domestic relationship’. Family violence may be physical, sexual, psychological or financial, but is always exerted with the intention of gaining and sustaining power and control over another person.

Additionally, any person who a) causes or allows a child to see or hear the physical, sexual, or psychological abuse of a person with whom that child has a domestic relationship or b) puts a child, or allows a child to be put at real risk of seeing or hearing such abuse is committing an offence under the Domestic Violence Act.

Family Violence Statistics

  • 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime
  • 78% of partner homicides in NZ are men killing their current or ex-female partner
  • 85% of sexual violence is committed by someone known to the victim
  • About half of all homicides in New Zealand are family violence. There were 41 family violence homicides in New Zealand in 2010/11. On average, 14 women, 7 men and 8 children are killed by a member of their family every year.
  • 84% of those arrested for family violence are men; 16% are women
  • Although Police attend a family violence situation every 6 minutes, they estimate that only around 20% of incidents are reported.
  • 58% of all reported violent crime in New Zealand is family violence. In 2010/11 this was:
    • 45% of abductions, kidnappings and threatening behaviour
    • 75% of serious assaults
    • 64% of all assaults
    • 33% of sexual assaults.

Child and Youth Statistics

  • Police recorded 107,602 family violence incidents and offences in 2010/11 at which 96,627 children (aged 0-16) were present or living with the victim at the time of Police attendance
  • On average 9 children under the age of 14 are killed every year in New Zealand by a member(s) of their family. Babies aged less than a year old are most at risk of being killed by a family member (7      times more than the national average)
  • 15-24 year olds are most at risk of physical, psychological and sexual victimisation from current and ex-partners
  • 12% of NZ secondary school students said they had been physically hurt at home in 2007
  • 10% of secondary school students reported seeing adults hit or hurt each other in the home

Court Statistics

  • There were 4858 applications for protection orders in New Zealand in 2010.
  • 91% of those who apply for protection orders are women.
  • Each day the Courts deal with around 20 prosecutions of assault on women by men.
  • There were 798 prosecutions for assault on a child in 2010.

The Economic Cost of Family Violence

  • In 1994, Suzanne Snively estimated the economic cost of family violence to be $1.2 to $5.8 billion per year. In today’s figures this would rise to $8 billion
  • Child abuse and neglect is estimated to cost New Zealand up to $2 billion a year
  • The average cost of a homicide in New Zealand is $4million

Changing Attitudes to Family Violence

Research from the It’s not OK Campaign (2010) shows that change is happening in New Zealand:

  • 96% of New Zealanders think everyone should try to help victims of violence and encourage violent people to change their behaviour
  • 81% of people think it is possible to change people’s behaviour (up from 57% in 2008)
  • 1 in 3 people have taken some action as a result of the It’s not OK Campaign (talked to their family, sought more information, asked for or offered help). This is up from I in 5 in 2008
  • 9 out of 10 (88%) people believe a life without family violence is possible