The Politics of Policing Family Violence in New Zealand: An Overview

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School of Psychology, Massey University,
In 2012, the New Zealand Police introduced a new Family Violence Policy to guide police response to family violence occurrences including a new tool for assessing situational risk factors. The Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) is a 13 item actuarial measure for intimate partner assault recidivism developed in Canada (Hilton, Harris, Rice, Houghton & Eke, 2008). It is crucial to understand how the changes in police policy and procedures that involve ODARA affect the safety and wellbeing of domestic violence victims. Victim safety and protection are policing priorities. The police response and understanding of family violence has changed over the last 40 years from police viewing the domestic incident as a private relationship matter with minimal police intervention, to a criminal investigation developing from the pro arrest strategy (Ford, 1986; Ford, 1993). This paper traces the history of policing policy changes in family violence that led to the introduction of ODARA in 2012. Four key turning points are identified, with the aim of gathering an understanding of how policy emerges in policing family violence.
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Policing, Family violence, ODARA,, Risk assessment, History