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Increase in family harm incidents during lockdown period, police say

Amid the lockdown and at a time where Kiwis are urged to be kind, police say they're starting to see an increase in domestic violence.

File picture. Source: istock.com

In a statement, police urged New Zealanders concerned or who may have information about family harm in their community to get in touch.

Since the lockdown began, average numbers of cases have been rising, and Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables said there may be even more cases police weren't aware of.

"We want everybody to know police will continue to prioritise family harm incidents and we will come when you call. Everybody deserves to be safe, and feel safe," she said.

"We realise this is a hard time for some families and we want them to know police are there for them. We know that for some people, home right now may be an uncomfortable or scary place."

Ms Vanables said it may not be easy for some people to contact authorities, so urges anyone in danger to leave harms way and contact a stranger or neighbour at two-metres distance to phone for help.

"We also urge neighbours and friends to contact police if they have concerns. If you think something’s not right, it probably isn’t.

Source: 1 NEWS

"It’s okay to call police if you’re worried about someone as they may not be able to speak up for themselves. It’s everybody’s responsibility to help keep each other safe right now through this challenging time. You could be saving a life."

Ms Venables also pleaded to anyone under stress and who may harm someone else to "please stay strong", advising them to walk away and not do anything they'll regret.

"We know being around the same people 24/7 can be a challenge, and we know for some people this may make them fearful, at risk, or on the edge of doing harm. So if you feel fearful or threatened, please reach out. Police is there 24/7."

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There are concerns some people are struggling to get help with their abusers around more than ever. Source: 1 NEWS

Police’s Integrated Safety Response, Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke, and Family Violence Inter Agency Responses are continually assessing risk and linking victims, perpetrators, families, and whānau to support services.

Police has also worked closely with Ministry of Social Development to ensure there is temporary accommodation for people under Police Safety Orders, as well police and MSD has worked together to ensure 0800 Hey Bro (a number for men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one) has been able to operate nationally during the pandemic.