Family Violence Death Review Committee report released

Fri 28 Jun 2013

The FVDRC has released its third annual report, which makes a series of recommendations including the development of a nationally consistent ...

The FVDRC has released its third annual report, which makes a series of recommendations including the development of a nationally consistent high-risk case management process; strengthening stopping violence programmes; and the development of an after-care process focusing on the safety and wellbeing of surviving family members.

Three regional review panels were established in 2012. The panels conducted in-depth, qualitative reviews of nine deaths that occurred in 2010 and 2011. Themes emerging from the reviews include:

  • "the need for an improvement in our whole-of-system response to family violence, which includes developing common understandings of family violence, common tools for assessing risk and clear procedures and support for interagency work
  • the need to improve training in family violence across all professional disciplines where decisions may be made or advice given in cases involving family violence (including private therapists, social workers and judges)
  • the need to understand and respond to family violence as a cumulative and relationship-based issue, which spans family networks, generations and serial partnerships, rather than on an incident-by-incident basis. This includes the need to develop a case management approach that prioritises victim safety when responding to cases involving family violence
  • the need to improve screening and assessment processes for family violence across all sectors of the social services
  • the need to improve public knowledge about the risk factors for lethal homicide
  • the co-occurrence of intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse and neglect (CAN)
  • the need to develop adequate strategies for particular communities affected by multi-generational trauma and levels of violence that make the word ‘brutality’ a more appropriate descriptor than ‘violence’."

Additional panels will be set up in 2013.

The FVDRC also analyses 72 family violence deaths (including intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect) and 19 'family violence related' deaths (including perpetrator suicides, interveners and bystanders) that occurred in 2009 and 2010.

In eight of the intimate partner violence deaths analysed (23%), children either witnessed the death or were in the home at the time of the death, according to data from the police reports. The FVDRC states,

"As noted throughout this report, the co-occurrence of IPV and CAN is high. However, the practice  emerging from the death reviews demonstrates that these two forms of abuse are frequently not assessed or addressed in an integrated way by many of the services (adult or child) involved."

Twenty-three (66%) of the IPV homicides involved a male perpetrator and a female victim, while eight (23%) involved a female perpetrator and a male victim. The report notes,

"Of the eight homicides with a female perpetrator and a male victim, in seven of the cases agency records evidenced an extensive history of IPV suggesting that the female was the primary victim throughout the relationship, while the male was the primary perpetrator of this abuse." 

Read the report here.


'Recommendations aim to reduce family violence deaths', Radio NZ: Checkpoint, 28.06.2013

'29 family violence deaths on average p/a', Radio NZ, 28.06.2013

'Family violence committee finds all reviewed deaths were preventable', NZ Herald, 28.06.2013

'Family violence report released', Press release: Family Violence Death Review Committee, 28.06.2013

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