Family violence is hurting a family member or someone you’re in a close personal relationship with. Family violence is not just hurting someone physically. It can also be hurting someone emotionally, psychologically, financially and/or sexually.
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Key points about family violence
- Family violence includes child abuse, partner abuse and elder abuse.
- Anyone can be affected by family violence, regardless of their age, gender, sexual identity, cultural background, ability, religion, wealth, status or location.
- To reduce and prevent family violence, we all need to take ownership of the part we play in promoting healthy attitudes and beliefs.
- If you are feeling trapped, controlled, or being physically or emotionally hurt, support, information and advocacy is available.
- If you know or suspect someone is being intimidated, controlled or hurt, find out what you can do to help. It's OK to get involved – you could save a life.
- If you have been violent or abusive towards your partner or family members and want to make a change, support is available.
What is family violence?
Family violence (previously referred to as domestic violence) is hurting a family member or someone you're in a close personal relationship with.
Family violence can happen in many kinds of relationships, including between:
Family violence can be hurting someone physically. It can also be hurting someone emotionally, psychologically, financially and/or sexually.
Examples of the different types of family violence
Source: Family Violence – It’s not OK
Family violence is a crime in New Zealand. Find out more about the Family Violence Act and the Family Violence (Amendment) Act
How can I help prevent family violence?
Family violence affects everyone. It happens in homes, neighbourhoods and communities.
Family violence is common because of widely held beliefs and attitudes that make it seem okay. These include the view that it’s alright to use violence against women, and violence and other controlling behaviours within intimate partner and family relationships.
To reduce and prevent family violence, we all need to take ownership of the part we play in promoting healthy attitudes and beliefs. We can do this by challenging unhealthy beliefs and attitudes, safely and respectfully, when we come across them in everyday conversations – whether those conversations are in person, by text or on social media.
Learn more about how you can help challenge attitudes and prevent family abuse by being a Conversation Champion
Communities have a significant role to play in preventing violence and making it not OK. Learn more about Promoting change in your community Family Violence – It’s not OK
How healthy is my relationship?
Whether you are in a long-term or casual relationship, you deserve to be treated well. You also need to make sure you’re treating your partner respectfully. Take the quiz to see how healthy your relationship is. Positive relationship quiz
What can I do if I am affected by family violence?
Family violence is not okay. You have the right to be safe. Report any family violence to the Police.
- Call the Police on 111 if you think you or someone else is in danger. If it’s not safe to speak, push 55 on a mobile (any number on a landline) to be put through to Police.
- If it's not an immediate crisis but you want support or someone to talk to about your concerns, phone the It’s not OK information line on 0800 456 450.
- If you are at risk of family violence, you can apply to get a Protection Order from the court.3 Learn about Applying for a Protection Order
The Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available 7 days a week, from 9am to 11pm, with an after-hours message redirecting callers in the case of an emergency.
You can also search under 'Family Violence' in our Services Directory for support services in your area or contact the following organisations for help:
- Women’s Refuge crisis line 0800 733 843, 24 hours
- Family violence information line 0800 456 450
- Shine National Helpline 0508 744 633, 9am to 11pm
- Shakti for migrant and refugee women, 0800 742 584, 24 hours
- National network of stopping violence 03 391 0048
- Elder Abuse Helpline 0800 32 668 65, 24 hours
- Gandhi Nivas supporting men to be free from violence 0800 426 344
- Hey Bro helpline supporting men to be free from violence 0800 HeyBro (439 276)
- Hohou te rongo kahukura – outing violence building rainbow communities free from violence
- You, me, us promoting healthy queer, trans and takatäpui relationships
- Sensitive Claims ACC 0800 735 566
Where can I get free legal help?
What can I do to help someone affected by family violence?
It’s hard to know what to do when you know – or suspect – that a friend or family member is living with violence. There are many actions that help. Sometimes just one action or comment can make the difference.
If you know or suspect someone is being intimidated, controlled or hurt, find out what you can do to help. It's OK to get involved – you could save a life. Keep in mind:
- Adults affected by family violence feel a lot of shame whether they are being violent or being hurt. They need to make changes in their own time when they are ready.
- Children need to be protected from violence happening in their homes – they need adults around them to keep them safe.
If you want to help someone who you suspect is violent, challenge the behaviour, not the person. Say things like:
The sooner you reach out to someone who is being violent the sooner they can get help to change.
How can I get help to stop using violence?
If your family is scared of you, or if people tell you that your behaviour is frightening, you might need to consider making changes to the way you behave.
Admitting you need help and changing your behaviour takes courage, effort and determination but brings lifelong rewards. What next?
There are services all over New Zealand that offer programmes and support for you to learn new ways of behaving.
The Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available seven days a week, from 9am to 11pm, with an after-hours message redirecting callers in the case of an emergency.
Other people who can help: