Gisborne woman struggles with threats from gang members

A Gisborne woman is struggling to find a safe place to live with her daughter after continued threats from gang members.

Gang members are out to get the 30-year-old woman after she laid a complaint and then received subsequent threats, which led to convictions and prison sentences for five people.

They have smashed up a car outside of her home, and her daughter has also experienced verbal threats, abuse, and drive-bys over the past year.

The family doesn't want to leave town, but they're struggling to find a home in Gisborne after their lease ended when their landlord said he wanted to move back in to their home, the Gisborne Herald reports.

Police say they are committed to helping her find a new home.

Tairawhiti area commander inspector Sam Aberahama said: "Police have arrested five people in connection to the threats against this victim who absolutely did the right thing by testifying and we are committed to helping her find a new home in any way we can."

He said police refute any reports that the woman and her daughter were advised to move away because of threats being made to them by gangs.

"Victims are at the centre of everything we do and reports that imply Police cannot protect victims who do the right thing by testifying against people who engage in criminal behaviour is concerning," he said.

"Police want to assure the public that if they have concerns for their safety they will be taken seriously. Anyone who is fearful for their safety is encouraged to call 111 in the first instance."

Gisborne Women's Refuge manager Philippa Davies told the Gisborne Herald: "We want to keep her and her child safe, and the best thing we believe we could do, given our resources, is move her to another town until we can be sure the risks here have been reduced or eliminated."

The Ministry of Social Development is working with the woman to help her to find temporary accommodation.