Charges for offences related to family violence in New Zealand
By offence type and outcome, year ended June 2020, number of charges
'Strangulation/suffocation': Extreme caution should be taken when interpreting charge outcome data for this new offence. This data is still unstable. As such, these figures do not represent the expected distribution of charge outcomes, which will be observed once more charges have been finalised.
In the Family Violence Act 2018, family violence offences include any offence involving family violence (as defined in section 9 of the Act: physical, sexual or psychological abuse by a person who is or has been in a family relationship) or any offence against the Family Violence Act (such as breaching a protection order or failing to attend a non-violence programme).
The offence types related to family violence are:
- breach of protection order
- common assault (domestic)
- male assaults female
- assault on a family member (from 3 December 2018)
- strangulation/suffocation (from 3 December 2018)
- coercion into marriage/civil union (from 3 December 2018)
Breach of protection order: "Includes offences for contravening a protection order under section 112 Family Violence Act 2018 (previously under section 49(1)a Domestic Violence Act 1995). A Protection Order protects a person (and any children who regularly live with them) from a violent person who they are, or have been, in a relationship with. Protection Orders include conditions such as no violence and no contact with the people protected by the Order. If the conditions of the Order are breached (eg if the violent person stalks the protected people by hanging around where they live, work or study) the police can arrest the violent person and charge them with 'breach of protection order'. A person convicted of 'breach of protection order' can be imprisoned for up to 3 years (this increased from a maximum of up to 2 years in 2013).
From 1 July 2019, new breach of protection order offences were introduced, which specifically include breaches of property orders."
Common assault (domestic): Includes offences under section 196 Crimes Act 1961 and section 9 Summary Offences Act 1981. This is an assault against a person with whom the person is in a domestic relationship. A person convicted of 'common assault (domestic)' can be imprisoned for up to 1 year (if charged under the Crimes Act) or up to 6 months (if charged under the Summary Offences Act).
Male assaults female: Includes offences under section 194(b) Crimes Act 1961. While this offence is not used specifically for family violence, historically most situations did involve people in a family relationship. A person convicted of 'male assaults female' can be imprisoned for up to 2 years.
Assault on a family member: Includes offences under section 194A Crimes Act 1961. Family members include people who are a spouse, partner, family member, ordinarily share a household or have a close personal relationship. This offence has the same maximum penalty as 'male assaults female' and is intended to be used instead, where the person charged and the victim have a family relationship (introduced 3 December 2018).
Strangulation/suffocation: Includes offences under section 189A Crimes Act 1961. This is where a person intentionally or recklessly impedes another person’s normal breathing, blood circulation, or both, by blocking their nose and/or mouth, or applying pressure on, or to, that person’s throat and/or neck. This offence is not used specifically for family violence, however, it was introduced following the Law Commission's finding that strangulation is a common and particularly harmful form of family violence (introduced 3 December 2018). A person convicted of 'strangulation/suffocation' can be imprisoned for up to 7 years.
Coercion into marriage/civil union: Includes offences under section 207A Crimes Act 1961 (introduced 3 December 2018). A person convicted of 'coercion into marriage/civil union' can be imprisoned for up to 5 years.
These statistics do not include family violence offending which is charged under different offence types, including more serious offences such as homicide.
Changes to data collection/processing
From 3 December 2018, three additional offences have been introduced: 'assault on a family member', 'coercion into marriage/civil union', and 'strangulation/suffocation'.
From 29 April 2016, the Ministry of Justice sources courts data from the new Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), rather than the justice sector data warehouse (ISIS) used over recent years. Changes in data processing may cause small differences if compared current output with similar results produced before 29 April 2016.
Data provided by
Justice Statistics: Offences related to family violence 2020
How to find the data
At URL provided, under the heading Justice Services, download 'View or download the offences related to family violence data tables' file.
Import & extraction details
File as imported: Justice Statistics: Offences related to family violence 2020
From the dataset Justice Statistics: Offences related to family violence 2020, this data was extracted:
- Sheet: 1.Charges by outcome
- Provided: 300 data points
This data forms the table Justice - Charges for family violence-related offences, by charge outcome 2011–2020.
Dataset originally released on:
September 15, 2020
Method of collection/Data provider
Gender, ethnicity and age information originates from the New Zealand Police.