Women's Refuge believes there could be what it describes as a breathtaking 600,000 incidents of family violence each year in this country.
It says the police deal with up to 90,000 reported incidents a year and its models indicate that is only about 15% of the total.
A Refuge spokesperson, Kiri Hannifin, says Australia has a much lower per capita rate of family violence than New Zealand.
She believes the penalties here are not strong enough and more repeat offenders should be jailed.
Ms Hannifin says Refuge workers deliver almost four times as many services as the organisation is funded to carry out.
She says the crisis line received a call every nine minutes during 2010 and 11 women and their children enter a safe house each day.