Six family harm reports in 24-hour period

Multiple reports of family harm incidents in Oamaru over a 24-hour period may be unusual, but not entirely unexpected given the time of year, Oamaru police say.

Between 8.30am on Monday and the same time yesterday, police were called to six family harm incidents around Oamaru.

While no-one was arrested as a result, a 33-year-old Oamaru man was served with a police safety order, issued when police have reasonable grounds to believe family violence has happened or may happen.

An order lasts for up to five days, but is usually enforced for one or two days.

Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said an average of two family harm incidents were reported in Oamaru each day.

He said the spate of recent reports was a result of the sad reality some families faced as the festive season approached.

''It's unusual and sad from a police perspective, but it's hugely sad from a family perspective in each of these cases.

''We do understand that there are some stresses and pressures leading up to Christmas - children off school, financial pressures, other family pressures going on. Alcohol plays a part and mental health plays a part, too, so there's a lot that goes into it.''

All cases were discussed at regular meetings held by Oamaru's inter-agency panel that Sgt Woodbridge was part of, alongside representatives from Women's Refuge, Oranga Tamariki, Victim Support, the Ministry of Social Development, Family Start, Safer Waitaki and the Department of Corrections' probation service.

From there, Sgt Woodbridge said everything possible was done to try to support affected families.

''Each case is unique with its own issues and we try to work with the families involved, both victims and aggressors, for the best outcome. We do focus on the children, making sure they're safe. I hope we can break the cycle, because family violence is not OK.''

Safer Waitaki co-ordinator Helen Algar was saddened by the high number of recent family farm incidents.

''One in 24 hours is too many, but six is significantly concerning.''

She said support was available for all victims of family harm - women, children and men.

''It depends on the situation in terms of what people actually need,'' she said.

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