Family violence & sexual violence work programme

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Family violence and sexual violence is unacceptable. However, New Zealand has amongst the highest reported rates of family violence and sexual violence in the developed world. 

To address this, a cross-government work programme is putting in place a wide range of initiatives to stop violence from occurring, reduce the harm it causes, and break the cycle of re-victimisation and re-offending. The work programme is also focused on improving and co-ordinating existing services.

This will help ensure victims and families get help tailored to their needs, and perpetrators are held to account and supported to change their behaviour. 

The Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, co-chaired by the Ministers of Justice and Social Development, is providing leadership and oversight of the work programme.

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Main initiatives

The Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme aims to reduce the devastating impact that family violence and sexual violence have on people and communities across the country.

New Zealand needs an integrated and effective system for addressing these forms of violence that is joined up, aligned and makes a difference.

The work programme is currently focused on striking a balance between two key needs: acting now to invest in services that have a good chance of making a difference, and taking time to build evidence about what works.

Key projects include:

  • Piloting an integrated safety response model, which sees government and community services working together more closely to ensure families experiencing violence get the help they need. This includes new services and support for high-risk victims and to help perpetrators change their ways. Find out about the integrated safety response pilot on the Police website (external link)
    Read the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu) evaluation of the pilot. (external link)
  • Creating a common Risk Assessment and Management Framework that people who work in the family violence sector can use to determine the risks victims face and the threats perpetrators pose. This will help to keep people safe by identifying family violence earlier, and preventing it from reoccurring and becoming more serious.
    Find out about the Risk Assessment and Management Framework
  • Developing a Workforce Capability Framework, which identifies consistent core competencies that members of the family violence and sexual violence workforce need to effectively deliver services.
    Find out about the Workforce Capability Framework.
  • Appointing agencies to lead coordination of primary prevention and perpetrator programmes, which will help coordinate services and investment decisions in these areas. The leads are the Ministry of Social Development for family violence primary prevention; Accident Compensation Corporation for sexual violence primary prevention; and the Department of Corrections for programmes for adult family violence perpetrators.
  • Developing specialist services to better support victims and prevent sexual violence.  This focuses on developing sexual violence crisis support services (including a national sexual violence helpline accessible by phone and online), harmful sexual behaviour services for non-mandated  adults (that is, people who haven't been directed by a court to attend a treatment programme or be assessed) and services for male survivors of sexual abuse.
    Find out about this work (external link) .
  • Developing advice on an overarching policy framework and governance arrangements to support effective and sustainable investment in sexual violence services.

These projects are supported by:

To read or sign up to receive updates about the work programme, go to:

Family and sexual violence work programme updates

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Progress so far

The current work programme builds on initiatives launched since July 2014, when the Government announced a cross-government package to address family violence and sexual violence. Progress so far includes:

Ministerial Group on family violence & sexual violence

Find out more about the Ministerial Group, including its membership, its focus and links to Cabinet papers (external link)

View the April 2017 Cabinet paper updating the progress of the Ministerial Group Work Programme [PDF, 259 KB]

View the April 2016 Cabinet paper updating the progress of the Ministerial Group Work Programme [PDF, 3.7 MB]

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