Joint statement from NZ and Australia police on family violence

Thu 28 Apr 2016

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined Police Commissioners from across Australia in launching a joint Leadership Statement and ...

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined Police Commissioners from across Australia in launching a joint Leadership Statement and Policing Principles for Protecting Women and Children from Family Violence in April 2016.

The joint statement calls for a community response to family violence, saying:

"Over the past decade, our organisations have progressed towards a much more effective recognition and response to family violence. We have improved our service delivery, our policies and our training. We have initiated police issued domestic violence orders so we can stop the violence then and there; we have enhanced our training to improve our understanding and upskill our first responders; we have implemented teams of officers dedicated to family violence response and investigation to ensure better expertise and oversight; and we have strengthened partnerships with other service providers and the community to enhance information sharing and risk assessments.

However family violence is not an issue that can be solved by police alone. It is a community issue and requires a community response. We will play our part and continue to enhance the services police provide, but others need to play theirs – including men who in the vast majority of cases are the perpetrators of violence. The underlying causes of male violence against women have their roots in cultural attitudes towards the role of women in society – attitudes which all of us, but particularly men, need to take responsibility for changing."

The statement outlines six principles:

"Policing Principles for Protecting Women and Children from Family Violence

The Policing Principles to Protect Women and Children from Family Violence are guided by the values expressed in the [Australian] National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022.

  • Police will take positive action – protecting the safety of everyone, regardless of their age, gender, religious, cultural or social beliefs, for a community that is free from violence.
  • Police will work to deter the crime of family violence – using their specialist skills, abilities and technology.
  • Police will lead sustainable change – by challenging and changing behaviours and attitudes, particularly of men, to never tolerate any offending in their family, their neighbourhood, or the wider community environment.
  • Police will work in partnership with others – including other law enforcement agencies, government, community and business groups - recognising that family violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault crosses all ages, races and cultures, socioeconomic and demographic barriers.
  • Police will provide holistic services and support – prioritising the needs of victims and survivors of family violence to achieve fair and just outcomes, and to ensure the safety and long term well-being of women and children.
  • Police will receive specialised training – ensuring that all front-line officers and specialist investigators have the best levels of appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities when responding to family violence."

Police are calling on the wider community to challenge behaviour that condones family violence.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said "People often make excuses for violence and police hear these every day. It is never a victim’s fault. It is never ok to use violence and we won’t accept it. Living free from violence is everyone’s right and reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility.”

Dr Ang Jury, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge, welcomed the statement, saying “It is past time that we recognised and began to make serious efforts to eliminate the underlying and pervasive sexism that enables family and sexual violence to continue at such endemic and destructive levels. It is refreshing and hugely encouraging to see public comments such as these from the most senior levels of Australasian policing.”

Related information

Australia-NZ co-operation meeting begins, Newshub, 27.04.2016

New Zealand hosts Trans-Tasman crime and safety meeting, Press Release: New Zealand Government, 26.04.2016


Police Commissioners speak out on family violence, Press Release: New Zealand Police, Scoop, 26.04.2016

Women’s Refuge welcomes Joint Police Leadership Statement, Press Release: Women's Refuge, Scoop, 26.04.2016

Image: Pixabay