We all know it’s real. We have read the shameful statistic’s. We have witnessed the fear, the intimidation, the terror and the scars. We have sat in the Court Room and heard the incredible bravery of victims. We have watched victims fight against overwhelming exhaustion to find what strength is left to speak up against their perpetrator. Speaking up against that one person they believed loved them.
Change MUST happen. Our Government has recognised the ‘surface needs’ but are they willing to dig deeper; to have those honest, uncomfortable conversations about Family Violence. What risks are our current Government, our Justice Minister Andrew Little willing to take to address the reality, the truth about what each victim of family violence suffers. To address these issues would take Political courage; the same courage each victim of Family Harm needs to stay alive.
Victims are scared to speak up, scared to get help. Their offenders have all the power. Financial control, physical control, emotional control. They manipulate their victims to the point where leaving is just as frightening as staying. Children are used as pawns for the offenders manipulative gain. Children are present at 80% of all Family Harm incidents. They learn very quickly who they must fear and who not to anger. The cycle of generational abuse in New Zealand is horrific. This ever continued cycle must stop. Children need to witness love, to feel love. To see and feel respect. To understand the essential need to be safe. The cycle of generational abuse must be broken. Without this essential change the ugly cycle of violence will continue.
Protection orders are put in place to PROTECT victims, not put in place for the offender to use as a frightening game of cat and mouse. The common theme we see is an offender doing just enough to intimidate, frighten and threaten the victim but not ‘enough’ to be arrested or incarcerated. In 2018 our New Zealand Courts approved 5514 Protection Order application’s. In 2018 there were 4500 cases of Protection Orders being breached. Protection Orders are meant to be there to give victims a sense of safety and security, not a stressful tool involving endless calls to the Police only to be told they can’t help. To many victims have been physically and emotionally harmed while they had Protection Orders in place. Tragically some victims have been killed even though a protection order was in place.
If you know someone is being harmed, or a victim needs help it is our responsibility to report Family Harm. Anyone who remains silent to the protect the offender or the generational cycle of abuse should be prosecuted. There are no excuses for protecting a person capable of intentionally harming an innocent victim.
Full accountability of an offenders actions is essential to make change. Every offender has a choice, they are solely responsible for their actions. There are NO excuses for brutality beating an innocent victim until her face, her body is unrecognisable. The second the offenders fist clenches in preparation to harm another is the second ALL responsibility, all accountability becomes the offenders. The decision, the forethought of repeatedly beating a vulnerable victim is completely the responsibility of offender. Each cruel word that is spoken to torment a victim lays solely with the offender.
No amount of excuses or blame will ever take away the damage done by the offender. Please do not stand in a court room and blame your past, your background, alcohol or drugs. Each offender has a choice. A choice to drink, a choice to do drugs, a choice to harm, a choice to kill. The Justice System is now rewarding offenders for their excuses. It is an insult to the victims who through absolutely no fault of their own have been harmed or killed through an offenders behaviour.
Our Justice System needs to recognise the long-term implications of an offenders actions; not re-victimise the innocent and vulnerable by letting the offender spend five months on Home Detention where he can continue to intimidate and threaten the victim intimidating behaviours.
Justice for the victim means using time served as a deterrent not a reward. Incarceration is a punishment that is necessary for offenders who violently harm their partners and children. Time served must be used as a deterrent. To insure each offender is equipped with the ability to take true ownership of their behaviours. Offenders must only be released when Community safety is guaranteed.
For change to happen our Government, our Justice System needs to stop sugar coating the truth
behind Family Harm. Nothing will change until our victims voices, our victims needs are put first!!