Family Violence Offenders


The term “family violence” covers a broad range of violent and controlling behaviours suffered by persons with whom a perpetrator shares (or has shared) an intimate, family or family-like relationship . Family violence can be physical, sexual and/or psychological in nature, actual or threatened, and may involve fear, intimidation and emotional deprivation. Family violence also includes behaviours that depart from a reasonable standard of care for children or vulnerable persons .
This paper sets out to describe the sub-group of offenders managed by the Department who are sentenced for family violence offences.

In the Corrections context, offences most commonly associated with family violence include assaults and injuring, sexual assault, threats and intimidation, property damage, and breaches of orders. In a small number of cases family violence involves homicide offences (Murder, Manslaughter).

Analysis of family violence offending is complex because of the range of offences involved, and because available data do not always clearly convey whether an offence relates specifically to family violence.  The data used for this analysis therefore comes from two sources; NZ Police data enables the linking of sentences to family violence offences, although this data is somewhat limited, spanning only the period January 2011 to December 2013; secondly, the Department’s own sentencing data includes certain codes that specify some offences as family violence-related.

Where definitive data is not available, data points have been estimated by calculating the rate of offenders starting family violence offences in 2011-2013 and extrapolating against the total number of unique offenders starting sentences each year.  These have been depicted as dotted lines on graphs.

Secondly, it is common for offenders to be sentenced on a number of different offences; in some cases, the mix of offences includes family violence offences, but these offences may or may not be the most serious in the mix. In this report, the term “family violence aggregate sentence” is used to refer to a sentence where any (one or more) of the offences relate to family violence.

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