Help for family violence

A child interviewer talking to a young boy.

Family harm is a high priority for Police and reducing the number and impact of family harm episodes is a key Police strategy.

Police take every opportunity to prevent harm and reduce offending and victimisation. Police is committed to a prompt, effective and nationally consistent approach to family harm episodes in collaboration with other agencies/iwi and with community partners.

Family violence can be physical, sexual or psychological. It is not a private matter, it is a crime. Preventing and effectively responding to family violence is one of the greatest opportunities to improve the wellbeing and safety of our communities, and we all have a role to play.

Remember, in an emergency call 111. Your call could save a life.

Signs that someone is being harmed by a member of their family include:

  • Controlling behaviour
  • Intimidation
  • Threats to kill
  • Strangulation and choking
  • Physical or sexual violence
  • Jealousy or possessiveness
  • Stalking.

Children living in homes where family violence is present may:

  • Be fearful
  • Be silent and withdrawn
  • Be aggressive 
  • Be unusually well-behaved
  • Show signs of violence or bruising
  • Suddenly change behaviour
  • Often be absent from school.

People experiencing family violence may be:

  • Fearful or nervous 
  • Isolated or reclusive
  • Sad or angry
  • Lacking in confidence
  • Keeping secrets
  • Worried about a love one’s reaction

If you suspect someone close to you is a victim of family violence, it’s okay to get involved – you could save a life. You could ask them:

  • Are you OK?
  • Is someone hurting you?
  • Is there anything I can do?

Other tips include:

  • Always call Police if you think someone is in danger
  • Talk about having a safety plan
  • Listen and take what they are saying seriously
  • Don’t tell them what to do – let them make their own decisions, however long it may take
  • Give support, not advice.

Further information and support

If you are a victim of family violence or in a relationship that makes you fearful about your own or anyone else's safety, seek help as soon as possible. You have the right to be safe.