Enabling safer outcomes for families

This recent police report concerning a family harm incident in South Auckland demonstrates the power of having a multi-disciplinary team working with our most vulnerable families. When Tania from Iosis stepped in, she helped to transform a dangerous situation into a positive outcome.

“I am writing about a matter which occurred on the 10th of October 2023, involving a female and her three children living in Papakura. 

On October 7th and 8th, the female was involved in a family harm matter with her ex-partner. The Family Harm Incidence Team (FHIT) in Papakura were assigned to follow up with the female on the 9th of October 2023. I have had prior previous engagement with the female approximately two weeks prior. Whilst I was working co-response car, my CRC shift was completed alongside Tania Da Encarnacao from Iosis. 

Upon completing the follow up with the female, she stated that she did not want assistance from Police and identified that she was okay. However, because she had previous positive engagement with Tania on a visit a few weeks prior, she said she would like to speak with her about the services offered by Iosis. She stated that she felt more supported by Tania in that short amount of time than she had working with other agencies. 

On returning to the station, I was immediately able to confirm a follow-up time with Tania to conduct a joint visit the following day. Just prior to completing the home visit, it was identified that another family harm matter reported that morning in which the ex-partner had taken her vehicle, keys and wallet.

It was identified that the need was immediate for the Police Family Harm Incidence Team (FHIT) to complete a follow-up with the female; however Frontline Staff were to attend prior to ensure that the home was safe. Consultation was completed efficiently due to Tania being present and her safety was the focus of this consultation. Tania agreed that she was comfortable with the plan. 

Police Frontline Staff entered the property and completed a search of the home; they were with the female for approximately 10 minutes before FHIT and Tania arrived at the home. She declined to complete a statement for breach of Release Conditions – as her ex-partner had conditions to not contact her. She was not forthcoming with much information and nothing further would have come from the matter apart from a family harm report. 

FHIT wearing Police uniforms and Tania entered the home and spoke with the female. She  immediately felt more comfortable, which was apparent in her body language. Even though officers were still present in the home, she began to open up to Tania and agreed that the situation was not okay and that she had to consider the best outcome for her children. 

Due to Tania being at the home, the female agreed with FHIT members that the best course of action was to make a statement against her ex-partner for a breach of his release conditions. She agreed to go into emergency housing until her ex-partner was arrested or until the locks on her home could be fixed. 

Emergency accommodation was organised and pet refuge were scheduled to pick up the dog on the property – which was one of the main reasons why the female would not accept emergency housing prior. 

With Tania’s assistance, MSD was contacted and they provided her with funds. Blankets were also organised for the family’s emergency housing.  The relationship between Tania and the police FHIT team ensured that this process was done efficiently and enabled the safest outcome for the female and her three children. The children stated that they were grateful that Dad was not able to come home to “hit” Mum tonight. 

FHIT were able to arrange immediately with Tania for a follow-up visit which was possible because she was stationed in the office. If this wasn’t the case and communication was delayed, the family may have escalated, with this family already having three call-outs within the space of three days.

The outcome would have been very different if Tania was not present and we may not have had the safest outcome for the female and her children. On the way to her emergency accommodation, the female expressed her gratitude for Tania visiting that day alongside police, because she felt the uniform had created a barrier for her to speak with Police.”