Increase in family violence during coronavirus lockdown

Domestic Abuse is rising during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Domestic Abuse is rising during the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo credit: Getty

Police say they are seeing a spike in family harm incidents during the COVID-19 lockdown and are urging anyone who needs help to reach out.

Assistant Commissioner Sandra Venables says the increased pressure on families during the level four restrictions is impacting New Zealanders.

"We know being around the same people 24/7 can be a challenge, and we know for some people this may make them fearful, at risk, or on the edge of doing harm," she says.

"We realise this is a hard time for some families and we want them to know police are there for them. 

"Police will continue to prioritise family harm incidents and we will come when you call. Everybody deserves to be safe, and feel safe.

"So if you feel fearful or threatened, please reach out."

Venables says during the lockdown some victims may not have easy access to a phone so is urging them to get out of the situation first and then ask a neighbour or passer-by for help.

The police also said there will be cases which aren't being reported so if any neighbours or family are concerned, please report it.

"It’s everybody’s responsibility to help keep each other safe right now through this challenging time. You could be saving a life."

The police are also asking perpetrators to stay strong, walk away and reach out to support services during the lockdown.

Alcohol Healthwatch recently told Newshub they were worried boredom drinking during the COVID-19 lockdown would lead to an increase in family violence.

The director of Alcohol Healthwatch Dr Nicki Jackson says the risk is greater during the lockdown.

"We know from times of recession, when people are out of psychological distress, under isolation, they drink heavier quantities.

"The evidence is already there. This is a time when anxiety and fear are heightened, and to then put our most harmful drug into that mix is very dangerous."

The group is calling for online alcohol sales to be banned immediately to reduce the risk in New Zealand.


Where to find help and support: 

  • Domestic Violence Victim Support –0800 842 846
  • Domestic Violence Victim Information Line/Victim Centre – 0800 650 654
  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • Family violence information line – call 0800 456 450
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584