Abuse (family violence)
Everyone in a family needs to feel safe and have relationships that are supportive, nurturing and trusting.
Family violence happens when a family member is abusive towards others. It includes sexual violence, emotional abuse and controlling behaviour as well as assault. It can be very unsafe and frightening for those involved.
Family violence is a health issue. Any experience of family violence can result in physical and mental health consequences for victims, perpetrators and children who are witnesses. The health effects of violence can be both short and long term. Exposure to family violence increases the likelihood of other health risk-associated behaviours: smoking, substance abuse, overeating and unsafe sex.
- Physical abuse – assaulting an adult or child. Includes hitting, punching, kicking, using a weapon, slapping and pulling hair.
- Psychological or emotional abuse – includes verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, damage to property, allowing children to see or hear domestic violence, and controlling someone’s contact with friends.
- Sexual abuse – includes forced sexual contact without a person’s permission, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching.
If abuse is happening in your family or you’re worried about someone else – a friend, neighbour, workmate or child’s friend – then get help now.
Call the Family Violence Information Line 0800 456 450.
They’ll put you in touch with organisations in your area that can help. The information line is available seven days a week, from 9 am to 11 pm.
It’s Not OK
It’s Not OK is a public campaign set up by the Ministry of Social Development and the Families Commission to stop family violence in New Zealand communities. It has a range of useful information, including people’s real life stories.
Ministry of Social Development
Focuses on helping to build successful individuals, strong, healthy families and communities. It is the leading government agency in working with family violence in New Zealand.
Child, Youth and Family
Child, Youth and Family is a service of the Ministry of Social Development. It works with families to ensure young people and children in New Zealand are kept safe.
A national domestic abuse charity to help keep people safe.
- Get informed
- Includes useful information such as myths and facts of domestic abuse and warning signs
The Women’s Refuge provides support and information for women dealing with violence in their lives. Their aim is to prevent and stop domestic violence, so women and children can be safe.
Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga - National Newtork of Stopping Violence
This is a group of community organisations that work together to end men’s violence to women and children across New Zealand.
- Defining violence
- Services (such as stopping violence programmes for men and support programmes for women affected by violence)
- contact details and information about crisis centres across New Zealand
- rape prevention education to young people in schools and www.sexnrespect.co.nz – an information site about healthy sexual relationships
- training and information for professionals, parents and family/whānau.
Provides information to serve the needs of older people, offering nationally contracted services, education, resources and national leadership.
Jigsaw (Family Services Incorporated) is a network of 42 organisations working to stop child abuse, neglect and family violence in New Zealand communities.
Strengthening Families helps to coordinate support for your family/whānau by bringing together the people and agencies that could help your family.
Ministry of Justice
The Ministry of Justice operates the Family Court, which plays an important role in the care and protection of children. It has useful information on counselling, domestic violence, mediation and parenting through separation.
Family and Community Services
Family and Community Services is part of the Ministry of Social Development. It supports families and communities to connect with each other and stay well informed.
- Directory of organisations in your area that can help with family violence.
The Families Commission promotes a better understanding of family issues and needs among government agencies and the wider community.
The Families Commission’s parenting website provides support for parents and has information on:
- Child abuse
- Family violence.
- New Zealand Family Violence Clearing House
- The national centre for collating and disseminating information about domestic and family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Office of the Children's Commissioner advocates for the best interests of all children and young people in New Zealand. Their website includes:
- Advice on what to do if you have concerns for the wellbeing and safety of a child
- Chose to hug – a helpful brochure for parents on how to encourage good behaviour in their children.
Work and Income
Work and Income NZ run a Violence Intervention Programme. Their case managers have been trained to identify and respond appropriately to people who are living in or leaving violent family situations.