Chapter 2
Understanding family violence


2.32The FVDRC considers gangs are environments that compound and exacerbate traditional assumptions about women’s roles and violence towards women, and United States research has identified a heightened risk of IPV for women in gangs.62 The FVDRC posits that violence against women and children in gang cultures is often more frequent and extreme than in other contexts, and victims’ fears of retaliation if they leave abusive relationships may be greater.
2.33Four of the 10 cases the FVDRC reviewed in which female primary victims of IPV killed abusive male partners, and one suspected such case, had a gang element.63 Among the cases in Appendix B of this Issues Paper, a gang element was identified in only one court judgment (Wihongi), in which that aspect of the defendant’s background was addressed in expert evidence filed on appeal. Some degree of gang association appears also to have been a feature of Brown and Keefe,64 although our source of information in those cases is media reports.

2.34We do not have sufficient data or information to draw conclusions about the scale or effect of gang involvement in New Zealand cases in which primary victims of family violence kill their abusers. We welcome submissions on this issue.

62Family Violence Death Review Committee, above n 2, at 85.
63At 85.
64In relation to R v Brown, see: “Jail time led to p addiction, a life of crime – and a violent death” The New Zealand Herald (online ed, Auckland, 12 January 2010). In relation to R v Keefe, see: “Jessica Keefe not guilty of murder” (19 September 2013) Stuff <>; and “Murder charge unwarranted - lawyer” (21 September 2013) Radio New Zealand <>.