Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to the July update on the Government’s family and sexual violence work programme. In this edition we feature:
Following Budget 2018 announcements, we’ll have significant work progressing over the next six months and we want to ensure we can communicate directly with as many people as possible. This newsletter will play a central role in providing updates, so we’re keen to ensure we have as many people as possible on our email list.
Please forward this newsletter on to colleagues and partners you’re working with and encourage them to sign up for newsletters by emailing the Multi-Agency Team on Family and Sexual Violence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to sharing further news about this work, in due course. Thanks!
This week (9 July) I’m at the United Nations in Geneva presenting the Government’s report to the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), on behalf of my colleague Hon Julie Anne Genter. It feels very appropriate that the reason I’m going is the Minister for Women is going on maternity leave!
Among the issues the Committee has asked us to address in our presentation are family and sexual violence. As we know, these are significant issues for women in Aotearoa New Zealand. I’m looking forward to sharing information about the work we have underway and hearing the concluding observations of the experts on the Committee. This should give us a really clear picture of where we’re going.
In May, I participated in the Safer Ethnic Communities Ministerial Forum in Auckland where the focus was on social inclusion, family violence, and small business crime. This was an important opportunity for the Government to hear directly from ethnic community leaders. We know that often the best solutions come from the people directly affected by the issues.
And while we’ve been listening, in both the ethnic communities event and in Crown/Māori relationship hui, a similar and very important point has been made: that racism leads to people not accessing the services they need, even when they have been hurt by family violence and want help.
Ethnic women have told us how racism isolates them. They feel unable to ask for help because they don’t want to bring harm to their community, or they fear they won’t be listened to because of their ethnicity.
Māori have said they don’t feel safe or protected when they access services. They describe this having a detrimental impact across the whole spectrum but noticeably in family violence, suicide, education, health and prison incarceration rates.
Having the privilege of hearing about these issues reminded me that in our efforts to improve wellbeing, including transforming the systemic responses to family and sexual violence, it’s critical that we acknowledge that communities are our best asset. Communities are experts who can support the implementation of initiatives and policies in their communities, in ways that work for them.
Hearing that racism is impacting on people accessing support, points to the significant amount of work needed if we really want to improve safety. We know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to either violence or racism, and our response has to be multi-faceted and at the same time well-coordinated and planned to ensure we aren’t leaving gaps for people to slip through.
I look forward to reporting back from the UN.
Historic sexual abuse has been the most commonly reported issue raised with the new Safe to talk He pai ki e korero helpline.
People have also got in touch to find out how to support a friend, colleague or whānau member who has experienced sexual harm or has harmful sexual behaviours.
More than 1,200 people have contacted the new national sexual harm helpline since it began in February this year.
Of those people, 83 percent were female and 17 percent were male. The most frequent age group making contact (of those who provided details) has been those aged 13 to 19, followed by those aged 40 to 44. Of those who provided ethnicity details, 27 percent identified as Māori.
Around 5 percent of those who got in contact were referred on to a face-to-face service provider with the most common referrals being made to Oranga Tamariki–Ministry for Children, Police, ACC and GPs.
Most people, some of whom were reaching out for the first time, were able to receive help and advice from helpline specialists.
Safe to talk is available to anyone affected by sexual harm in any way. It is available for free 24/7 by:
Calling: 0800 044 334
Visit the website for resources and webchat: www.safetotalk.nz(external link)
The Child Wellbeing Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is commencing work on the Government’s first Child Wellbeing Strategy. The Strategy, a requirement under the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, will take an evidence-based approach to identify what will make the greatest difference in children’s lives.
Government has suggested 16 potential child wellbeing focus areas and it will be engaging stakeholders on whether these are the right areas. These areas include a focus on reducing child poverty; and children being safe and nurtured in their whānau and home, free from abuse, neglect and family violence. The Government will also be engaging on the vision statement, draft child wellbeing outcomes and principles that should underpin the Strategy.
Relevant Cabinet papers have been released(external link) and in the months ahead, anyone who is interested will have an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Strategy.
ACC is investing $5.9m over the next five years towards establishing New Zealand’s first national Pasifika injury prevention programme, Atu-Mai, to achieve meaningful and relevant change for Pasifika young people.
Atu-Mai, launched by Hon Iain Lees-Galloway and Hon Aupito William Sio in Auckland on 4 July 2018, aims to equip Pasifika young people and their families with the right knowledge and skills to live free from violence, sexual harm and suicidal behaviour. Through a national plan, Atu-Mai will focus on prevention: providing protection from violence and reducing the likelihood of being a victim or offender of violence in the first place.
Le Va’s research over two years had identified the underlying conditions, risk factors and protective factors for violence, that are unique to Pasifika young people and different from the risk factors for the general New Zealand population.
The execution of this action plan will be underpinned by the establishment of a Pasifika Spearhead service that will both deliver and coordinate services in partnership with ACC and in collaboration with Pasifika young people and communities to provide evidence-informed education, training, resources and tools to meet the needs of Pasifika communities.
The launch featured powerful performances by Pasifika youth around resilience and hope.
You can find out more about Atu-Mai on the Le Va website(external link)
The Ministry of Justice has developed guidelines and training to support frontline staff to provide safe and appropriate responses to customers affected by family and/ or sexual violence.
In November 2017, the Ministry launched a ‘Responding to Family Violence’ package focused on supporting staff affected by family violence. The Ministry was awarded a SHINE DV Free Tick for that work. This next stage is about customers and includes a focus on both family and sexual violence.
Through online and face-to-face training, Justice staff will be equipped with skills to recognise the signs of family and sexual violence, respond, and, where needed, refer people to specialist services.
The work recognises that court staff form part of the family and sexual violence workforce, and are well placed to deliver a primary response to people affected by family and/ or sexual violence. It also reflects the role of the Ministry as a ‘family violence agency’ under the new legislation.
The customer response guidelines and training were developed in partnership with subject matter experts from courts, including Victims’ Advisors, Sexual Violence Victims’ Advisors, Family Court Coordinators and Court Registry Officers. Training is expected to commence in September.
Implementation of the Workforce Capability Framework has begun with early adopters round New Zealand testing out its usefulness on the ground.
The Framework was launched by the New Zealand Government in 2017. Its purpose is to improve responses to people affected by family and sexual violence by building capability across the workforce.
This includes government agencies, family violence and sexual violence practitioners, organisations and volunteers. Its vision is a workforce that:
The Framework is structured around six domains. Early adopters have welcomed the Framework, in particular a series of reflective questions for practitioners to use.
“We were so excited about being part of creating the Framework, we wanted to start rolling it out. We started doing testing in October last year,” said Sue Rudman, Manager of the Bream Bay Community Trust and Ruahine Albert (Roni), chief executive for the Waikato Women’s Refuge Te Whakaruruhau.
They were both on the design group for the Framework and have developed a training programme based on it. They trained staff at Te Whakaruruhau in Hamilton over a 10-week period, on different components from the first two domains:
Training was for two full days each week with 40 staff attending in rotation.
Sue said over the last couple of decades she has seen robust training and good analysis of the dynamics of family violence fall away and this has impacted on practice and how agencies work together.
“With this training, we are putting the woman and her safety back in the centre of the picture. 20 years ago, having the correct analysis was really important and we want to bring that back. Yes, there may be other issues that present, such as mental health or addiction, but if the woman is being abused that has to be addressed. The victim has got lost in the whānau.”
Both Roni and Sue are encouraged by improved relationships with Government agencies as a result of the Framework’s emphasis on a common understanding and consistent practices so that everyone is working together for the client.
Roni said, “We’ve found switched on people in all the agencies we work with – Police, Work and Income, DHB. We had two guys at Corrections who knew how to navigate the red tape and get things done fast because they understood how it was for the person we were trying to help – the complexity. They can speed through the red tape.
Roni and Sue have found the reflective questions valuable. “It’s about non-judging – and knowing you’re not judging – by using reflective questions. We are transforming the way we are working with women and families. Rather than focusing on transforming the system, we are transforming the way we are working and that is transforming the system,” Sue said.
“If you change the people in the system, the system will change. There’s been a lack of understanding of the complexity of people’s situations. True understanding – by that I mean good old-fashioned analysis – clients can feel the difference. They know if a person is genuine and has integrity.”
“We need good relationships with Government agencies – Police, Justice, Health, Housing, Oranga Tamariki. Clients need easy access to the things we all need to survive and we get those things from the Government. If we want to help people with those basic needs we need buy-in from people in Government agencies.”
“We are hoping to bring everyone into the training. We’d like to see it adapted to different groups and communities. If we are all coming from the same understanding we can work for the client together and prevent blockages because of red tape.”
Good progress is being made on a programme of work to strengthen the funding and delivery of MSD-funded family violence services for whānau and families.
The first stage of this work, which focused on understanding the ‘current state’ of MSD-funded services, has now been completed. It included visits to a sample of MSD-funded providers, randomly selected across a range of services, and an online survey open to all MSD family violence providers.
The next stage of the programme is the development of a new MSD Family Violence Funding Strategy. This strategy will outline the family violence services that MSD will fund and how these will be commissioned. We want a future state where services are whānau-centred, outcomes-focused and integrated.
It is expected the strategy will be completed later this year. MSD will then be working with communities and the sector to co-design how to put the strategy into operation.
This will make a useful contribution to the Multi-Agency Team’s work on system improvements and the development of a whole-of-government strategy to prevent and reduce family and sexual violence.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) is about to commence the first phase of a major research project investigating young New Zealanders’ use of pornography.
It is universally agreed that online pornography is not for children and adolescents. However, it is well established that many children and young people view it. There is significant concern amongst parents, young people, and those working in youth education and health about the potential effects of this exposure.
“Following consultations with a variety of agencies and researchers we have identified a need for robust, up-to-date evidence about the scope of the issue in New Zealand. We are looking at a phased approach, starting with a nationally representative quantitative survey which will in turn inform a qualitative phase,” says Chief Censor David Shanks.
Findings from phase one will be released at the end of 2018 and the qualitative phase will begin early 2019.
The OFLC’s most recently published research, Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence(external link), filled a gap in current research by giving young New Zealanders, frontline agencies, and sexual violence experts a voice to describe the effects of depictions of sexual violence in mainstream entertainment media. The third and final phase of the research involved 24 paired interviews with 48 young people aged 13 to 18 from around New Zealand.
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The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill provides greater clarity about requirements for family violence information sharing. The changes will support agencies to develop more integrated, seamless responses to people affected by family and sexual violence. To give effect to these provisions, the Ministry of Justice has developed guidance for practitioners in ‘family violence agencies and social service practitioners’ as described in the Bill. The guidance reflects feedback received during consultations on Family Violence Law Reform and in submissions on the Bill.
During August and September, the Ministry will be seeking feedback on the draft guidance to test that it meets the needs of practitioners. Following targeted face-to-face engagements, conversations with victims, and online submissions, the guidance will be finalised and published to coincide with the entry-into-force of the new law.
If you’re interested in reviewing the draft guidance, please email Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org
A newly designed – and simplified - protection order application form will be launched later this year. The Ministry of Justice has conducted a significant process of listening to customers’ voices to gain insights into people’s experiences of accessing and completing the form, as well as the system that sits around it. This process has helped inform the prototype for the new form, providing valuable insights for the redesign.
Through this newsletter you will receive updates on current work, including the implementation of the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill(external link). We welcome your feedback so please email us at email@example.com.
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