Bay News column

Thursday, March 19, 2015

In my last Bay News column before the Election I wrote about what the Government is doing to tackle the issue of family violence and improve awareness, support and protection for victims.

While figures show that crime levels are at their lowest levels in over 30 years, family violence is still a pressing issue, being the cause of nearly 50 percent of all homicides.

In July 2014 we announced a range of measures including GPS mobile alarms for victims, changing legislation so courts can impose GPS monitoring on high-risk domestic violence offences, and increased penalties for breaching protection orders.

Last week Justice Minister Amy Adams announced the nationwide rollout of the National Home Safety Service, a programme designed to make victims of domestic violence feel safe in their own home by replacing glass panelled doors with solid doors, installing security lights and monitored personal alarms, replacing locks and repairing broken windows. The programme has been trialled in Auckland since 2008 and in Tauranga and Christchurch for the last three years and has been a great success.

Prior to the programme 85 percent of the participants had to move house due to offender’s actions, but after programme none had to move. Participants reported improvements in sleep, self-confidence, concentration and happiness, and less anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes, and for victims of domestic violence this can be particularly challenging. We are committed to better protecting victims of family violence and will continue to work hard to achieve this.