A couples retreat is reducing domestic violence

From Nine To Noon, 9:24 am on 16 October 2014

Whakakotahitanga is an initiative running in the Ruapehu District aimed at reducing domestic abuse and assaults. It's the brainchild of Taumarunui-based police family violence co-ordinator Gabe Quirke. She has worked for the police in Taumarunui for 27 years and became sick of seeing the same couples being involved in domestic violence. Seven years ago she came up with an idea to run a couples retreats - an intensive weekend for the worst offenders to look at their behaviour and to identify and deal with the triggers. More than 250 couples have attended the weekend camps in a remote part of the Ruapehu District - there's been a 70 percent reduction in their reoffending. The programme has been so successful Wellington police women's development adviser Senior Sergeant Kelly Ryan has run a pilot in the capital and wants to introduce the couples retreat for repeat domestic violence offenders in that region.