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Victim in your own home

The risk rate for being a victim of household crime in Gisborne is 24 percent, a nationwide survey shows

Gisborne had the equal-highest risk rate for “household crime” in the country in the period October 2018 to September 2019, a nationwide survey has found.

The NZ Crime and Victims Survey (NZCVS) was a New Zealand-wide, face-to-face, annual, random sample survey conducted by the Ministry of Justice.

It asked adults living in private dwellings and aged 15 and over about incidents of crime they experienced in New Zealand over a 12-month period — reported and unreported to police.

The prevalence rate, or risk rate, for being a victim of household crime for Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, was the highest in the country at 24 percent.

It compared to the New Zealand average of 20 percent and a low of 9 percent in Tasman.

Household crime covers burglaries, damage, theft, family harm and other domestic offending.

Justice Ministry spokesman Tim Hampton said 8000 people were interviewed.

“The key research objectives of the NZCVS include measuring the extent and nature of reported and unreported crime across New Zealand, understanding who experiences crime and how they respond, identifying the groups of people involved, looking at the average risk of victimisation and facilitating a better understanding of victims' experiences and needs.”

Mr Hampton said of particular concern was the worryingly low levels of reported sexual violence.

“The survey shows 29 percent of New Zealand adults experienced intimate partner violence, or sexual violence, at some point in their life, with women three times more likely to experience sexual violence than men.

“Of most concern, 94 percent of sexual assaults were not reported to police.”

The data from the survey was “enlightening and sobering”.

“The levels of crime and number of victims is nothing for New Zealand to be proud of.

“The sexual violence data in this report reinforces a lot of what we already know about victims and the level of non-reporting to police.

“For comparison's sake, 94 percent of sexual assaults were not reported to police, when 94 percent of motor vehicle thefts were reported.

“Our hope is this data continues to prove valuable in guiding policy decisions and practice to improve the lives of the most at risk of victimisation in our society.”

The findings also reinforced a 2018 finding that a small proportion of the population experienced the majority of crime events.

“Just 2 percent of victims experienced 33 percent of all offences, and when it comes to interpersonal violence, just 1 percent of adults experienced 53 percent of incidents.”

The report also found a clear link between victimisation and socio-economic conditions.

“There is a higher level of victimisation for those under financial pressure, living in more deprived areas, unemployed and not actively seeking employment, and those in single parent households.”

Mr Hampton said the survey helped identify the communities where people were most at risk — with Gisborne/Tairawhiti and Hawke's Bay topping the prevalence risk percentages.

Area police commander for Tairawhiti Inspector Sam Aberahama said police were working through the results of the survey and how best to use these as part of their evidence-based approach.

“The Tairawhiti police area extends from Hicks Bay to Kotemaori south of Wairoa, which is a large geographical area where we serve a number of communities.

“Family harm is a key focus for our policing area and we have committed 24 police officers and kaiawhina (helpers) to focus on it,” Insp Aberahama said.

“This relationship and partnership — Whangaia Nga Pa Harakeke — has been developed with iwi over the past three years, where we work together to work alongside whanau.

“Evidence suggests the level and severity of family harm has reduced over the past three years and while there is more reporting of family harm, there is also confidence that police will respond.”

Insp Aberahama said the work of the Whangaia team alongside other services up the Coast and in Gisborne gave him confidence the investment in the programme remained sound.

Whangaia was in the process of building further family harm capacity in Wairoa.

“We encourage anyone who has been the victim of a crime to report it,” he said.

“We understand the public need to trust police to come forward and have confidence that their incident will be dealt with, which is why our vision is to have the trust and confidence of all.”

survey ‘enlightening and sobering': The NZ Crime and Victims Survey showed that 29 percent of New Zealand adults experienced intimate partner violence or sexual violence at some point in their life, and, most disturbingly, 94 percent of sexual assaults were not reported to police.