Alarms target home violence

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 07:17 20/12/2013
Mike Porter
Emma Allen
New measures: Sergeant Mike Porter is involved in an initiative to try to prevent family violence in Marlborough

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A network which aims to make Marlborough a safer place to live has donated alarms and cameras to protect at-risk families.

The Marlborough Violence Intervention Project (MVIP) has funded two alarms and three cameras to be installed in the homes of people most at risk of violence in Marlborough.

Marlborough Police, Women's Refuge, Child Youth and Family and Probation Services will identify those who will benefit from the devices.

Sergeant Mike Porter, of Blenheim, said the alarms, which could be activated from mobile pendants, sent an alert to the police communications centre.

The covert cameras could be installed anywhere in houses or on properties, and images captured by them could be used as evidence in court, Mr Porter said.

The images would help the police to proceed with charges even without the co-operation of the victim.

The donation coincided with the holiday season when incidents of family violence could double from the average 15 to 30 cases reported in the region each week.

"Coming up to Christmas, there's this pressure on families and we see an upsurge of family violence generally," Mr Porter said.

He hoped the devices would deter potential offenders, by making them think twice about who might see their actions.

MVIP is behind many anti-violence campaigns in Marlborough, such as White Ribbon Day and Child Abuse Prevention Day.

Network member Lyne Reeves said the organisation provided $5000 to fund the cameras, worth $700 each and the alarms, which cost $400 each.

The safety alarms cost just more than $1 a day, and there would be ongoing camera costs.

She hoped to be able to be raise money to cover these costs with the help of the wider commu- nity.

Marlborough Women's Refuge manager Rachel Black said it was estimated the 15 to 30 incidents of family violence only represented 18 to 20 per cent of the all incidents.

"That's just looking at the tip of the iceberg . . . we urge any victims to contact the police," she said.

Anybody who was worried about their actions should phone the police or Lifeline before doing something they might regret, she said.

Women's Refuge could also be contacted 24/7 on 0800 REFUGE.

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- The Marlborough Express

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