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  • Call 111 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

  • Phone It's Not OK on 0800 456 450 for support finding a service near you.

  • Phone the Women's Refuge Crisis line on 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843).

Family Violence

Aotearoa New Zealand has some of the highest rates of family violence in the world. More than half (55%) of all women in Aotearoa New Zealand will experience Intimate Partner Violence. Most (87%) physical and/or sexual violence from a partner is not reported to Police. Māori and the rainbow community are significantly more likely than the average New Zealander to experience Intimate Partner Violence. See more family violence statistics.

What is Family Violence?

Family violence is a broad range of controlling behaviours and violence inflicted against a person, by any other person with whom that person is, or has been, in a family relationship. Violence often includes a pattern of behaviour that may be coercive or controlling and/or causes the person cumulative harm. 


It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and economic abuse or exploitation and often involves fear, intimidation and loss of freedoms for people impacted by it. Family violence occurs within a variety of close interpersonal relationships, such as between partners, parents and children, and siblings, and in other relationships where significant others are not part of the physical household but are part of the family, whānau and/or are fulfilling the function of family.

Family violence can include physical acts of violence. These include physical assaults, assaults with weapons, strangulation, pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, spitting, dragging, pushing, pulling, sexual violence, rape, violation, and non-consensual sexual connection of any type.

Family violence can also include non-physical acts of violence. These can include threats of violence, intimidation, harassment, property damage, harming pets, financial abuse, deprivation, exploitation, stalking, degradation, intimidation, isolation from friends and family, gaslighting (making someone feel like they are mentally unwell), technological violence, tracking, forced marriage, shaming, humiliating, name calling, mocking, belittling, and allowing children to see, hear or be the victim of family violence.


Some useful commonly used definitions are included below:

  • Intimate Partner Violence is violence that occurs in the context of an intimate relationship/partnership/marriage/de facto relationship and includes both past or present connection.

  • Inter-familial violence covers all other aspects of family relationship. For example, sibling/whāngai/aunties/uncles/step relationships/parent-child etc.

  • Predominant Aggressor is the person who predominantly uses coercive control or violence within the relationship and poses the most serious ongoing threat.

  • Primary Victim is the person in the relationship who most often is the recipient of violence or coercive control.

  • Coercive control is a series of tactics used by predominant aggressors to gain control over and isolate their primary victims. Learn more about coercive control.

Aotearoa New Zealand Family Violence Statistics


people were killed by Intimate Partner Violence from 2009 to 2018


of women experience Intimate Partner Violence in their lifetime


of women who experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner do not report it to Police


children were killed from child abuse and neglect from 2009 to 2018  

1 in 3

women have experienced physical and/or sexual Intimate Partner Violence


of offenders who killed their partners were men


of women killed from Intimate Partner Violence had separated from their violent partner


of Māori women have experienced physical and/or sexual Intimate Partner Violence

3 mins

Police attend a family harm episode, on average, every 3 minutes

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