The Women’s Refuge has released new data showing there is a concerning reality as to what New Zealand women who have experienced family violence go through and suffer before they take, at times difficult, steps to get help. 

The data released by Women’s Refuge is from the first 500 risk assessments of the women who have come to them for assistance following family violence incidents. 

The statistics are:

  • 84% of women are physically assaulted in family violence incidents. Of this 84%, 42% of women reported that they have been strangled, 36% had indicated that they had been raped, and 50% had been held hostage by their partner.  Also, of incredible concern is 61% of these women believe that these acts of violence will happen again.

  • 68% of women reported the perpetrator destroying their belongings.

  • 10% of women reported they had been forced by their abuser to get pregnant or to end a pregnancy.

  • 15% of women reported they were forced to use drugs and alcohol by their partner.

  • 95% of women reported suffering constant put downs and degradation.

  • 74% of women reported they were prevented from associating with friends and family.

  • 84% of women reported being accused of doing something wrong.

  • 52% of women reported having their household routine dictated to them.

  • 31% of women reported having their phones tracked by their partner.

  • 45% of women reported not having access to household money.

  • 38% of women reported their partners either shared personal or shameful secrets or made up false stories about their mental health.

  • 35% of women faced allegations and false stories as to their parenting and 22% of women faced false allegations regarding substance use.

  • Almost 50% of women were assaulted while they were pregnant (if they had children) and also almost half of the women reported being threatened by their partner with the loss of their children.

  • It was also reported that around 25% of children who have borne witness to violence against their mothers reported also being abused by the perpetrator.

  • 56% of women reported that they also believed that they had little control over leaving their partner and further abuse occurred because of not having that autonomy.

The above statistics on these first 500 risk assessment cases paint a sobering and very serious insight into family violence patterns, particularly against women, even with new legislation coming into force a few years ago. It is clear that New Zealand still has a long way to go to stop family violence, and it is still a very serious and dangerous community problem.

If you or someone you know is suffering from family violence, it is important that you or the person you know can be supported to get help. Police, Women’s Refuge and experienced Family Lawyers can assist.


Shaun Cousins