Increase in family harm worries Police, St John

Increase in family harm worries Police, St John

Wellington, December 26, 2019

(INL File Photo)

Police are asking everyone to have a stress-free low-key Christmas Day, without the spike in family harm that they usually witness during this season.

Inspector Fiona Roberts said that the Christmas season was an extremely busy time of year for police attending assaults and family violence incidents.

“When families get together, children and our Tamariki are very important parts of people’s families and they often are witnessing either family harm or family violence or they are subject of, which is obviously concerning to us,” she said.

Roberts said that violence included physical and psychological violence.

Some useful tips

To help keep stress low, she shared a few tips like not letting expectations for Christmas get unrealistic, taking time out for some space and not drinking too much.

St John Ambulance also urged revellers to stay safe, but said ambulance officers were often kept busy during the festive season.

Inspector Fiona Roberts (Picture from TVNZ-Screenshot)

National Pathways Manager Kris Gagliardi said that assault cases go up each December.

“Over that really busy summer month of December, we see about 25% increase. Often we have to worry – are there children at the scene, are there children to worry about, are there other people living in the house? So they can be quite complicated incidents to deal with.”

Ambulance Officers threatened

Gagliardi said ambulance officers were often bearing the brunt of some of the most difficult cases, and were increasingly threatened or assaulted too.

He recommends that people should take care of their health and stress levels over Christmas, and not drink excessively and to help deal with holiday tensions.

“Christmas and the holiday season can be a stressful time for New Zealanders and that is often due to financial hardships, families get together – that doesn’t always go well – there’s a lot of alcohol consumed over the summer period, so these can all be triggers which can lead to an increase in assaults,” he said.

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