Te Rito definition of Family Violence

Family violence covers a broad range of controlling behaviours, commonly of a physical, sexual and/or psychological nature that typically involve fear, intimidation or emotional deprivation. It occurs within a variety of close interpersonal relationships, such as between partners, parents and children, siblings, and in other relationships where significant others are not part of the physical household but are part of the family and/or are fulfilling the function of family. Common forms of violence in families/whānau include:

  • spouse/partner abuse (violence among adult partners);
  • child abuse/neglect (abuse/neglect of children by an adult);
  • elder abuse/neglect (abuse/neglect of older people aged approximately 65 years and over, by a person with whom they have a relationship of trust);
  • parental abuse (violence perpetrated by a child against their parent); sibling abuse (violence among siblings).
Family Structures

According to the definition of family violence set out in Te Rito, family structures include:

  • nuclear families (two biological parents with children);
  • sole-parent families step-families extended families, whether living in the same household or not;
  • whānau foster families or other caregivers in a parental role;
  • families with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parents;
  • couples without children, including cohabiting, non-cohabiting and LGBT partners.
Ministry of Social Development (2002) Te Rito: New Zealand Family Violence Prevention Strategy. Wellington: Ministry of Social Development.

Find out more

You can find out more about Family Violence by visiting The Campaign for Action on Family Violence website.

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If you, or someone you know, needs urgent help, call one of these numbers NOW:

Women's Refuge
03 548 3353
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03 548 3850

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