Domestic violence: Auckland intervention programme prevents nearly 60 percent from reoffending - study

An Auckland-based domestic violence programme that removes men from the family home is showing promising signs, with reoffending prevented in nearly 60 percent of cases, new figures show.

Massey University conducted a study on the effectiveness of the Gandhi Nivas Programme, which offers support for men who commit family harm as well as their families. The study found 57.5 percent of men who previously engaged in family harm and received intervention from Gandhi Nivas had not reoffended.

Founder Ranjna Patel told The AM Show the programme aims to tackle issues around family harm head-on.

"What we've done is, if police are called to a home for an incident of family violence, the men are given the opportunity to go into the [Gandhi Nivas] home where there'll be a bed and counselling.

"They are given a space to talk and confront it."

Domestic violence is a long-standing issue in New Zealand and spiked during the COVID-19 lockdown. Police said there was a 24 percent increase in family harm in the first few days of alert level 4 alone.

Patel said instances of family harm needed to be confronted within 24 hours.

"Having 60 percent of men not re-offend again has been a big, big outcome," she said on Wednesday, adding the offering of free counselling and place to stay has made a "big difference".

"I think our 'no blame' listening of the counsellors is the biggest point of difference.

"Our main purpose is not just working with the men - another set of counsellors go to the home to say, 'Is this the last straw'?"

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement the research shows family harm can be addressed.

The study was conducted by psychology Professor Mandy Morgan and senior psychology lecturer Dr Leigh Coombes.

Where to find help and support:

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • 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