develop other types of services not currently offered in Tauranga: services such as a greater capacity in schools to provide appropriate learning opportunities, or a special school; stronger community-based supports such as respite care for parents including better training for potential carers, more intense one-on-one parenting support and education options both in the home and in other settings; and more intense child-centred programmes providing positive role models.
It is a long and difficult journey for families seeking services in this area. However, there is a lot of goodwill and collegiality among the key Tauranga providers. The work of the Bay of Plenty DHB’s TAG committee is providing positive momentum, and there is a feeling the time is right for real change.
Priority 2: Families affected by domestic violence
What Service Providers say:
The most serious issue facing Tauranga families is the safety of women and children in their own homes.
Family violence service provider
We have been getting an increasing number of referrals from Work and Income, who pay the money to beneficiaries directly, and from the DHB and health providers – particularly mental health – with no funding provided or volunteered. We can’t sustain our service.
Board member of sexual abuse service that has since stopped operating
Please help us, we just can’t provide a service that people here need.
Family violence provider
We know that the government agencies are overloaded and we want to help but we can’t do that on current funding.
The social context
In 2005, a young Tauranga mother and her new partner were murdered, allegedly by her former de-facto partner. In separate incidents, two young Tauranga children died in suspicious circumstances. These events focused local and national attention on the destructive impact of family violence, even in a community which has historically seen itself as safe and comfortable.
In recent years, Tauranga police have focused on domestic violence and the data collected has improved. This may have contributed to the significant rise in reported family violence incidents. In 2004, Tauranga police attended 971 incidents of family violence, compared with 603 in 2001. The rate of family violence incidents per 10,000 people in 2004/2005 was higher in Tauranga (74 incidents) than nationally (63 incidents in the 2004 calendar year). In Mt Maunganui, the rate was even higher at 82 incidents per 10,000 people.
These statistics show only part of the total picture. Police data relates only to partner abuse: instances of sexual and child abuse are recorded separately. Further, it is internationally accepted that police are called to fewer than 20% of family violence incidents in any community. It is also widely recognised partner abuse affects more people than the parties involved. As shown in Figure 4, it is often witnessed by children, meaning family violence has ongoing consequences for society over many years.