New Zealand domestic violence statistics

One in three women experience psychological or physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime1.

On average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a member of their family every year.

Police are called to around 200 domestic violence situations a day – that’s one every seven minutes on average.

Police estimate only 18% of domestic violence incidents are reported.

At least 74,785 children and young people aged under 17 were present at domestic violence situations attended by police.

84% of those arrested for domestic violence are men; 16% are women.

The economic cost of domestic violence was estimated at $1.2 to $5.8 billion per year by economist Suzanne Snively in 19962. In today’s figures, that would be up to $8 billion.

In the 2009/10 year there were 3,867 domestic violence cases in the Family Court which each involved at least one child.

Women’s Refuge statistics

20,000 women and children needed the help of Women’s Refuge in 2013.

Women’s Refuge is New Zealand’s most significant family violence organization with a 40-year history of providing comprehensive services for women and children.

In 2012-13, our refuges provided 76,000 safe beds for women and children who did not feel safe to sleep in their own homes – this was an average of 209 women and children each night.

The average length of stay in a safe house in 2012-13 was 24 days for a woman and 29 days for a child. This is an increase from the previous year which was 20 and 26 days respectively.

On average, of the women who seek our help, 64% report psychological abuse; 49% report physical abuse; 23% report financial abuse; 21% report harassment and stalking; 12% report spiritual abuse; 12% report sexual abuse and 11% report that weapons were used. 24% of women reported that children witnessed or heard the abuse. (note most women experience multiple forms of abuse so these figures will not add up to 100%)

56% of Women’s Refuge clients are under 36 years of age.

35% of children are under the age of five and 86% of the children we deal with are under the age of 10.

Women’s Refuge receives an average of 82,000 calls to its Crisis/Support lines every year. This means we answer a crisis or information call every nine minutes of every day.

In 2013 we had 821 staff with 477 unpaid or volunteer staff. Half of our workers – paid or unpaid – identify as Māori.

Women’s Refuge responded to 1,500 Police Safety Orders in 2013 which is a huge increase on the previous year which had 880 PSO responses. We are not paid for this work.

Police refer more than 27,000 Family Violence Interagency Response referrals to Women’s Refuge each year. We are paid for only 2200 of these referrals.


Are you Okay? website
1 Snively, Suzanne, The New Zealand Economic Cost of Family Violence (1996)
2 Fanslow, J & Elizabeth Robinson, Violence against Women in New Zealand: Prevalence and health consequences, New Zealand Medical Journal 117 (1206), 2004

Learn more about youth abuse statistics.