The New Zealand situation…
- half of all murders are domestic violence related
- 35% of Kiwi men report being physically violent to their partner
- Police deal with more than 70,000 family violence calls each year
- on average 14 women, 6 men and 10 children are killed by family members each year
- we rate 3rd highest for child homicide out of 27 OECD countries
- 33-39% of Kiwi women experience at least one act of physical or sexual assault
So, what does this all mean? It means that New Zealand has a terrible record at protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and that we as Government agencies, communities and individuals, need to take some action to improve this situation.
What the Church is doing about it
As well as taking a public stance against family violence, Presbyterian parishes around NZ are doing plenty to help build stronger families. We believe this is the cornerstone of fixing the country’s appalling family violence record. Some of the things we’re doing to strengthen families are:
- Parishes throughout New Zealand support White Ribbon Day - an international day which aims to eliminate men's violence against women - in various ways. Check parish websites for details of specific events.
- Very Rev Ray Coster was appointed a White Ribbon Ambassador in 2016 and speaks at Church and public gatherings to raise awareness about family violence, and to equip and resource change in our communities.
- Operating formal early childhood education centres in various locations around New Zealand including Otahuhu (St Andrew’s community Presbyterian), St Heliers and Mangere Pacific Island Church, which is of the biggest preschools in the country with 120 children. St Andrew’s College in Christchurch also provides preschool education, as does Wellington’s St John’s in the City.
- Providing fellowship meetings for parents and children including music and movement classes like Mainly Music.
- Running coffee and worship groups for teens and young people to congregate, reflect and hang-out in a safe environment
- running youth groups that teach life skills as part of their regular programmes, which cover things like anger management
- offering relationship counselling and parenting courses are at various parishes around New Zealand
- participating in initiatives like White Ribbon Day to demonstrate the Church’s commitment to stamping out family violence in our communities
Check out what the Church has said about family violence and other important community issues on our media releases
Where you can get more info
For a Christian perspective on issues associated with family violence, check out these websites:
- New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services review of its “Clearing the Fog” publications into Government policy and activity in the child and family sector – published July 2006.
New Zealand Family Violence Clearing House is the national centre for collating and disseminating information about domestic and family violence in New Zealand. It provides information and resources for people working towards the elimination of family violence.
For more information about actions you can take to prevent family violence in your community, check out the Families Commission website.
Many services are available in the community to help those who are impacted by family violence. These services include
- Women’s Refuge
- The National Network of Stopping Violence Services (NZ) Is a federation of community agencies offering men's violence and abuse prevention programmes, support and education programmes for women who have experienced domestic violence, programmes for youth and community education on domestic violence prevention.
- Jigsaw Is a network of community-based agencies advocating for children and supporting families. The agencies provide parenting support, services for children and a national child abuse hotline.
- Relationship Services Deliver a wide range of counselling, mediation and education services in 70 communities throughout New Zealand and a wide range of online services.