Study reveals link between domestic violence and suicide attempts

A study released today shows a strong link between domestic abuse and self-harm.

It was conducted by Women's Refuge, with the aim of increasing knowledge of women's experiences of being both suicidal and a victim of intimate partner violence.

It also sought to identify better ways of responding to those women.

More than 1200 women responded to the survey, and their experiences at their partners' hands covered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

All study respondents had considered or attempted suicide, with feeling worthless consistently reported as the most common factor driving that.

They also revealed other forms of self-harm, including depriving themselves of food and water, intentionally depriving themselves of activities that made them feel good, and burning themselves.

Many women reported being raped by their partner, including one who described that happening many times.

"[I was] raped a few times, put down continually, told 'no one else would put up with you', 'you're so fat and ugly you make me want to vomit on you'."

Another spoke of the erosion of her self-esteem and feeling she was always walking on eggshells.

"He gradually isolated me from friends and family and the abuse became more frequent.

"I was a strong independent person before he managed to manipulate me and never expected that I would ever be in a relationship like that, or not have the guts to leave after the first time, but here I was, time after time.

"He messed with my head and my self-esteem. I felt trapped like I couldn't leave."

Another woman said her husband began using his guns against her when he became scared she would leave him.

"At first it was a pistol to the face or he would hold one while we argued, then he started pointing them at me and looking down the scope of his rifles.

"Then the shotgun became his favourite as my tongue got sharper.

"The side-by-side double barrel shoved down my throat until I would vomit blood became his favourite way to silence me for days at a time."

More than 90 percent of respondents had also experienced other abuse, including childhood sexual abuse, before entering a violent relationship.

Women's Refuge chief Ang Jury said it had been known there was some link between domestic violence and the mental health problems suffered by survivors of such abuse, but generally the two had been treated as separate issues.

She said there was no way of knowing the prevalence of domestic violence leading to suicide but she thinks the numbers would be high.

"If you ...think about the experience of being abused by a partner, someone who is supposed to love you and care for you, the obvious potential for at least severe depression is really, really clear," said Ang Jury.

She said Women's Refuge itself did not come through the survey unscathed, as some women were critical of the help they were offered and that will be addressed.

"Rolling out far more extensive training with Refuge advocates so they know to make sure they are asking the right questions so they aren't missing things."

Ang Jury said the most important thing a person could do if a friend or family member disclosed they were a domestic violence victim, was to believe them.

"Make sure the person knows it is not their fault; that it is the behaviour of the abuser that is bad and wrong; that there is no excuse for it and they have no blame for it.

"People get angry, people react badly to other people's actions, but the abuse of someone in response to that is simply unacceptable."

Ang Jury said the study results would be shared with other agencies and she was encouraging the public to read it.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz
What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)
Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)
Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Safe to talk National Sexual Harm Helpline - 0800 044 334, www.safetotalk.nz
Victim Support National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 842 846, www.victimsupport.org.nz
• Rape Crisis National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 883300
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- Anne Marie May 

rnz.co.nz

Woman with hands on head (file picture).
Source: istock.com



'She was extraordinary' - Jacinda Ardern hails mother as 125 years of women’s suffrage celebrated

Hundreds of celebrations are taking place across the country to mark 125 years since Kiwi women received the right to vote.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern marked the historic occasion from Auckland's Aotea Square this morning, where she acknowledged her mother as just one of New Zealand's many inspirational women.

Acting Minister for Women Eugenie Sage also acknowledged the work of women such as Kate Sheppard, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia and others who tirelessly campaigned for women's suffrage.

The Electoral Act, signed into law on September 19, 1893, gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote in parliamentary elections - the first country in the world to do so.

The PM spoke about New Zealand’s inspirational women in central Auckland today, including one close to her heart. Source: 1 NEWS

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Kidnap suspect accused of tying woman to pole at outlaw bikie clubhouse, assaulting her for days

A Sydney man has been charged after he allegedly kidnapped a woman, holding her prisoner and assaulting her for two days.

The 22-year-old woman told police she was walking in Cambridge Park in the city's west on Sunday when a man known to her forced her into his car and took her to an outlaw bikie clubhouse in Horsley Park.

She said she was tied to a pole and assaulted for two days.

The man allegedly forced her back into the car yesterday and drove to South Penrith. When he left the car, the woman managed to escape to a nearby property and call police, she said.

When police went to the clubhouse to arrest the 29-year-old man, he held officers off for two hours before surrendering peacefully.

He has been charged with kidnapping, assault and intimidation and is expected to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.

Sign on the top of an Australian police car in Sydney Source: istock.com

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As Australia's strawberry scare expands to apples and bananas, police offer big reward hoping for clues

Almost two weeks after a Queensland man was taken to hospital after biting into a strawberry with a sewing needle inside, the hunt for those responsible goes on.

The contamination has spread nationwide, with West Australian police confirming on yesterday that they were investigating claims a primary school student had bitten into a strawberry with a needle inside.

Starting this morning, all fresh strawberries being exported from Australia must be metal-contaminant free.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources announced the interim control measure yesterday evening in response to the growing situation.

"In order for strawberry export permits to be approved, exporters will be required to provide assurance to the department that their consignment is free from metal contaminants," the department said in a statement.

"These measures apply to fresh strawberry exports to all markets, and will remain in place until the risk of metal contaminants has been appropriately managed."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday's report was the fifth incident of needle-contaminated strawberries in WA.

The latest incident has led to the WA government following the Queensland government in offering a NZ $110,000 reward for information on the culprit or culprits.

"The motive appears unclear ... at the end of the day it's an act of treachery to the people of Australia," Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty told reporters, confirming NSW police were investigating at least 20 cases of needles being found in fruit including claims of needles being found in an apple and a banana.

The halt comes after needles were found in different brands in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

Det Supt Doherty said perpetrators, including copycats and consumers falsely claiming a discovery, could face up to 10 years in jail for food contamination.

No-one has been charged in relation to the tampering.

In Queensland, struggling growers have been boosted by the announcement of a NZ $1.1 million fund to assist them through the crisis.

Horticulture body Growcom has implored consumers to keep buying strawberries.

"Hang in there with us and our saying will be 'cut it up, don't cut us out'," Growcom chief executive David Thomson said.

The scare is expected to result in a review of fruit handling, storage and packaging following the police investigations, Mr Thomson said.

NSW authorities are investigating more than 20 incidents of needles found in strawberries. Source: Breakfast


Supporters call for fair trial for Sri Lankan university student held on terror charges in Australia

Family members, human rights activists and civic groups have gathered in Colombo to demand a speedy and fair investigation of a Sri Lankan student detained in Australia on suspicion of terrorism.

The New South Wales police website says Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney on August 30 for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Police say they found the alleged plans described in a notebook.

A support group, United for Kamer, planned a silent protest today to support their call for a fair trial for the 25-year-old student.

The group says Nizamdeen was working for the University of New South Wales and has been kept in solitary confinement since his arrest.

It says Nizamdeen denies what police say he wrote in the notebook.

A statement from the family read out at the protest said Kamer was allowed to contact one family member immediately after the arrest but thereafter denied access to legal counsel or family members.

The protesters silently held placards and banners with slogans about Kamer's innocence as well as the investigation.

Kamer Nizamdeen was arrested in Sydney last month for allegedly planning to attack targets in the city and assassinate prominent people. Source: Associated Press