Family violence

  • In New Zealand, family violence is a crime. Police take it very seriously.
  • It is against the law for anyone to physically, sexually or psychologically abuse another person.
  • Examples of family violence include punching or kicking a family member; damaging property as a way of hurting someone; trying to control someone's life by constantly humiliating them; bullying, sexual mistreatment; controlling someone's money, time, car or contact with friends as a way of having power over them.
  • The most common types of family violence reported to Police involves violence against women and children. About 85% of victims reporting to Police are women.
  • Police recognise the serious harm family violence does to children who see or hear family violence. Police will also do their best to keep children safe from harm.
  • If you or a family member is in immediate danger from family violence then telephone the police on 111.
  • If family violence is happening in your home, you should tell someone you trust about this. Call a friend, family member or one of the groups listed below. If you don’t know who to talk to, call the Police.
  • People suffering family violence can apply to get a protection order. You should seek advice from a lawyer or one of the support groups listed below.
  • Protection orders are issued in the Family Court and give legal protection against family violence for the person who applies for it and their children.
  • A protection order names the person who is committing the abuse and clearly explains what they can and cannot do. For example, a protection order may state that the person must not damage or threaten to damage property.
  • In normal circumstances, a temporary protection order can be granted on the same day or within a few days after you apply for it.
  • A protection order may also help protect your home and property.
  • If the person does not obey the protection order then police can arrest them. The person will go to the District Court and could be ordered to pay a fine (money) or may go to prison.
  • Find out more about protection orders and the Domestic Violence Act
  • In New Zealand, there are strict domestic violence laws. For more information about these laws, start by reading the Domestic Violence Act 1995, or refer to the Family Court website.
  • Other agencies that can help you include the