Te Whanganui-a-Tara – New Zealand is ranked as the worst country in the OECD for family violence with police receiving a call from a domestice violence victim every four minutes. But changes are on the way.
Aotearoa family violence has increased 60 percent in the last five years with nearly half of all homicides related to family violence.
Research suggests that one in three New Zealand women have experienced physical or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime. When psychological abuse is added it increases to more than one in two.
One in eight men reported being victims of family violence and gay, lesbian and bisexual adults experience intimate partner physical and sexual violence more than twice as often as other New Zealanders.
However, thanks to the Help@Hand trust https://helpathand.org.nz/, free support is now available to families and individuals at risk of domestic violence.
Help@Hand founder Sir Ray Avery said says statistics show break up or separation is the most dangerous time for women and children who are the victims of family violence.
“The risk of a woman being killed by her partner quadruples when she tries to leave.
“But using state of the art technology, we can watch over domestic violence victims 24/7 so that we know they are safe and well, track and trace their movements and hands-free link them automatically with their caregivers or connect with police and emergency services.
“We have been successfully using this technology in Australia for the last two years and have helped hundreds of families safely exit abusive relationships which has saved at least eight lives in the last six months alone.
“We want to replicate this success in NZ so we are launching a trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of our tech system in New Zealand. We are looking for 50 domestic violence victims to participate in the trial to provide support and protection to those most at risk so they can start a new life free from fear of abuse.”
Trial participants would receive a free discrete personal emergency response device to monitor their safety and movements for a three month period and provide them with 24/7 support so they can feel safe and get on with their lives.
Domestic violence is a huge problem in New Zealand. Economic researcher Berl, on behalf of ACC, estimates the total cost of sexual violence in New Zealand in 2020 was $6.9 billion.
“There is also a lot of stigma associated with domestic violence in Aotearoa. It is often associated with ethnic or low socio-economic whanau and areas,” Avery says.
“But we have found it is prevalent in all sectors of New Zealand society and all trial participants will be treated as part one of our whanau with their privacy and personal safety being paramount.”
People interested in taking part in the trial should contact Help@Hand’s Alan Brannigan on 021981632.
For further information contact Sir Ray Avery 0274760591 or Help@Hand’s media specialist, Make Lemonade NZ’s editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.