Latest Better Public Service data - increase in reported violent crime

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The Government has released the latest results from the Better Public Service (BPS) goals.

Targets include reducing reported violent crime by 20% and reducing the number of children with substantiated findings of physical abuse by 5%, both by June 2017.

The Government is using reported violent crime in dwellings as a measure of family violence.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said:

"Violent crime in dwellings, strongly correlated with family violence, has risen 3 per cent in the last quarter. This is likely to be due to increased reporting of family violence incidences, a sign that the Government’s comprehensive family violence programme is raising awareness."

The BPS measures for the year to September 2016 related to crime rates are:

  • total crime rate up 1.4% (down 14% since 2011)
  • violent crime rate up 3.1% (down 2% since 2011)
  • youth crime rate up 2.5% (down 32% since 2011)
  • re-offending rate up 1.2% (down 4.4% since 2011)

The Government also reported that the number of children with a substantiated finding of physical abuse reduced by around 5% in the year to June 2016.

Related information

The Salvation Army's 2016 State of Nation report was critical of the BPS targets.

The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse has also highlighted concerns with using administrative data (e.g. Police, Child Youth and Family, courts etc) to monitor trends over time. This is because violence (especially family and sexual violence) is under-reported so administrative data does not reflect the actual levels of violence in the community. This means we don’t know whether an increase (or decrease) in the level of violence any agency is dealing with means there has been an increase (or decrease) in the rates of violence, or simply in the rates of reporting. Secondly, administrative data is subject to change in agencies’ reporting and recording systems. This means we don’t know whether an increase (or decrease) in the level of violence any agency is dealing with means there has been an increase (or decrease) in the rates of violence or whether it is due to changes in agencies’ policies or data collection systems.

For further information, see:

Gulliver, P., & Fanslow, J. (2013). Family violence indicators: Can administrative data sets be used to measure trends in family violence in New Zealand? Wellington: Superu

and

Gulliver, P., Fanslow, J. (2012). Measurement of family violence at a population level: What might be needed to develop reliable and valid family violence indicators? Auckland: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, University of Auckland

Background information

See these previous NZFVC stories:

Government's Better Public Services measure on family violence

All previous NZFVC news stories on Better Public Services