New Zealand family violence up 60% after Cyclone Gabrielle

Family violence has increased by 60 percent in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, New Zealand police have said.

New Zealand family violence up 60% after Cyclone Gabrielle
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Police Commissioner Andy Coster said reports of widespread looting were exaggerated but family violence had spiked as clean up from one of the country’s biggest storms began.

Coster said increased instances of family violence were not surprising given the stress families were facing in regions worst affected.

“We can understand the pressure that is on the communities that are affected here,” he said.

“No doubt that’s playing out in a range of ways in terms of tension between people at supermarkets, petrol stations but also in homes. People are under pressure.”

At least 11 people have died as a result of the nation’s biggest storm in decades. With numbers of people still unaccounted for, Coster said he expected that toll to increase.

Coster said fears of opportunistic crime while power and communications were down had not been realised and the situation did not warrant defence force troops being brought in to assist police with law and order.

“We’re in control of the situation on the ground,” he said.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said there were no specific measures being implemented to respond to family harm situations.

“The police will continue to follow up as they do and so will all of the relevant social support agencies,” he said.

The Prime Minister said 100 police had been tasked with “working the phones” to follow up thousands of reports of uncontactable people.

Mr Hipkins said of 6517 reports of missing people, 4260 had been confirmed safe.

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