What you need to know

  • A million New Zealanders are directly impacted by family and sexual violence each year, including 300,000 children.
  • There is always someone you can reach out to for support.
  • Family violence or domestic violence includes physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse, by anyone you’re in a “family relationship” with. That doesn't mean you have to be living together.

Family violence in New Zealand

A million New Zealanders are directly impacted by family and sexual violence each year, including 300,000 children.

Police attend a family violence callout every 3.95 minutes, and that’s only what’s reported. On average, it takes 21 acts of violence before a person reports it. It’s estimated three-quarters of incidents go unreported.

About half of all murders in New Zealand are committed by an offender who is identified as family.

Your rights

Everyone has the right to feel safe in their relationships.

If your partner is abusive, it’s not your fault. Most people who are being hurt want the violence to stop, but don’t know what to do.

Family violence and domestic violence are not okay, ever. You have the right to feel safe in your relationships. There is always someone you can reach out to for support.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 111 and ask for the police. Call the Shine helpline on 0508 744 633 or Women’s Refuge on 0800 733 843 if you’re being physically or emotionally abused by a partner or family member.

Family violence law

Family violence or domestic violence includes physical, sexual, psychological and financial abuse, by anyone you’re in a 'family relationship' with. That doesn't mean you have to be living together.

Two people are in a family relationship if they are:

  • partners or married
  • family members
  • sharing a household
  • in a close personal relationship, which can include a caregiver relationship. The law provides protection against family violence through legal orders like Police Safety Orders and Protection Orders.
How to apply for a Protection Order

Ministry of Justice

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The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice within New Zealand.

Because family violence is illegal, there are other things you can apply for to protect you and your children.

Property orders 

Property orders can make sure you have access to your home and furniture.

  • An occupation order gives you the right to live in a property that either you or the other person owns or has a legal interest in. Even if they’re the sole owner of the property, they have to move out.
  • A tenancy order gives you the right to live in any place you and the other person have been renting together. The other person has to move out.
  • A furniture order lets you have some or all of the furniture, household appliances, and household effects from a house you've shared with the other person.
Guide to applying for a property order (PDF)

New Zealand Police

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The New Zealand Police is the national police force of New Zealand, responsible for enforcing criminal law, enhancing public safety, and maintaining order.

Parenting orders

Parenting orders for the care of children can be made to arrange day-to-day care and contact. The key factor with these is the need to keep the child safe from all kinds of violence.

It’s a good idea to discuss what these different orders offer you with an advocate, a lawyer or the police.

Protection orders also allow you, your children and the violent person to access free education and support programmes for women, children and men. This can be a chance to talk with other people who will understand what has happened and will help you to stay safe in the future.

Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922