Family violence at 'horrendous' levels

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 08:44 25/11/2012
Sue Moroney
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SHOCKED: Labour MP and woman affairs spokeswoman Sue Moroney.

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Police investigated more than 77,500 domestic violence cases in the past 20 months, launching inquiries at a rate equal to five incidents every hour, new figures show.

Of cases investigated between January 2011 and October 2012, 43,500 involved family members being injured and 2235 involved sexual assault, figures provided from police to Labour under the Official Information Act show.

It comes at a time that police annual reports show a 50 per cent rise in people killed in domestic violence incidents over the past three years - 18 people killed in 2008, rising to 27 last year.

Police did not publish comparative data for 2009 or 2010.

Labour's women's affairs spokeswoman Sue Moroney described the rate of family violence is "horrendous".

Although rising statistics have been attributed to increased reporting of domestic violence in the past, Moroney says preventative measures aren't working if more people are being killed.

"You can probably make an assessment that family violence is on the increase as well as reported incidents."

The Ministry of Social Development spent $3.35 million on its wider campaign for action on family violence in the 2008-09 year but that fell to $1.49m in 2011-12. Funding for television advertising fell from $1.3m in 2009-2010 to $500,000 this financial year.

Moroney said despite the statistics "blowing out", the Government was spending less.

She said Minister of Women's Affairs Jo Goodhew was "clearly failing" because one of the three priorities of her ministry was to ensure women are safe.

It was also up to Goodhew to fight to retain funding levels.

"The minister is sitting on the sideline and watching this all unfold in front of her," Moroney said.

Goodhew responded by saying she was concerned about any violence against women but the figures obtained by Labour related to all family violence deaths, and the number of women killed by their partners had remained relatively stable.

Six women were killed in 2008, rising to 14 in 2009 and falling to nine last year.

The minister said her work improving women's safety contributed to wider government efforts to reduce violence against women such as its targets to cut violent crime by 20 per cent and reoffending by 25 per cent by 2017.

"Beyond this, everyone in the community has a role to play in keeping women safe," Goodhew said.

"It is essential that everyone speaks out and takes action if they know that violence is occurring."

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Funding for domestic violence prevention is up to the relevant ministries running programmes, she said.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ROLL OF SHAME

Domestic violence deaths: 2008 – 18

2009 – not recorded

2010 – not recorded

2011 – 27

Police domestic violence investigations since January 2011:

Homicide or attempted murder 67

Injury 43,500

Abductions or harassment 10,182

Sexual assault 2235

Total 77,521

- Sunday Star Times

- Sunday Star Times

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