Finance trap behind domestic violence

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2012

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Violence between ex-partners who cannot afford to move away from each other after a split is a growing trend in Taranaki, police say.

Detective Sergeant David Beattie said New Plymouth police had noticed they were seeing more domestic violence situations involving couples who had split up but were continuing to live together in the same house or on the same property for financial reasons.

"They are unable to create the distance needed. People need to be setting appropriate boundaries."

He said the economy could be contributing to the problem by making it more difficult for people with limited means to move on.

"People need to be making a clean break and they can't do that if they're in each other's faces."

Drinking and socialising together also tended to make things worse between former partners.

"The violence tends to start when they've been drinking all through the day or into the night,"Mr Beattie said.

Last year about 1500 incidents of family violence were recorded in North Taranaki, while HRC Family Counselling Services in Hawera reported 230 cases of physical or emotional abuse in South and Central Taranaki from the start of this year.

From Monday to Sunday last week, 33 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the New Plymouth police.

Mr Beattie said it was possible the recent good weather was partly to blame.

"The sun's out so maybe people are drinking more."

Tu Tama Wahine manager Ngaropi Cameron said domestic violence was a complex problem and people who were struggling to remove themselves from domestic violence situations could get help.

"These are hard economic times and it is affecting people, but there is support out there for them from Winz and other agencies."

She said alcohol was often a factor in family violence situations and people needed to take responsibility for their actions.

"It costs money to booze and people shouldn't be drinking with people they don't trust. Especially if there are children involved, you have to put their safety before anything else."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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