Family violence addressed
Reports of domestic violence in the Matamata- Piako district have increased significantly since last year, but police say it is a move in the right direction.
In 2011, there were 319 reported incidents of family violence across the district. In 2012 to date, there have already been 367 incidents reported to police.
Sub- area manager for Matamata-Piako Senior Sergeant Rod Carpinter said the statistics were an indication that people were taking domestic violence more seriously.
‘‘ This increase, I believe, reflects that people are realising it isn’t acceptable to be involved in a violent relationship,’’ he said.
‘‘ Twenty years ago no- one thought there was anything wrong with drinking and driving.
‘‘It’s about a change in what is socially acceptable. People are starting to recognise the reality and seriousness of domestic violence.’’ Campaigns such as White Ribbon and the It’s Not Okay television advertisements, and people such as David White speaking out against violence were driving this change, he said.
However, police found there were misconceptions about where domestic violence occurred.
‘‘It doesn’t just happen in one small area,’’ said Mr Carpinter.
In the Eastern Waikato area, which includes Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel, 47 per cent of family violence incidents were in the Matamata-Piako district.
Of those incidents, 29 per cent were in Matamata, 43 per cent in Morrinsville and 28 per cent in Te Aroha. In 2008 a number of agencies, including police, the Waikato District Health Board, Child Youth and Family, Victim Support and local social service providers, set up the MatamataPiako Family Safety Network to support families and work to prevent domestic violence.
Mr Carpinter is now heading an intervention team that will promote the network, introduce preventative programming and create development and direction for the network.
The success of the network would be measured by the number of repeat victimisations and whether the seriousness of incidents was increasing, said Mr Carpinter.
At a meeting held at Starfish Social Services’ new premises last week, he asked local service providers to articulate what they could contribute.
‘‘The aim of this discussion was to find out what services were available, how we could coordinate those services and how they could be involved in making the district a safer place,’’ he said.