Family violence and sexual violence work programme updates

Welcome to the latest update from the cross-government joint venture, leading the Government's work on family violence and sexual violence.

View previous updates in the archive

25 February 2019

In this edition we feature: 

The Under-Secretary’s Update

Kia ora koutou, katoa. It’s been a busy start to 2019. I’d like to thank you for the work you’re doing together to reduce sexual and family violence in Aotearoa. This is important, challenging work, and I’m excited about the year ahead, as the momentum builds.

In addition to the important political engagements at Ratana and Waitangi, I have been working with Ministers and the ten Joint Venture Chief Executives to confirm our shared work programme for the year. There is a lot to do and we can only achieve it by working together.

The Joint Venture is all about government agencies working together in new ways to reduce family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau. Its role is to lead, integrate and provide support for everyone involved, to ensure an effective, whole-of-government response to family violence and sexual violence. Integrated practice across government and in communities can prevent and reduce violence and we know government must do things differently to achieve that integration. The Joint Venture creates the leadership and accountability we need in that integrated system.

It is challenging for everyone in the system to think and act differently, when we’ve worked in silos for so long. We must reimagine what the system looks like when we put people at the centre. We also need to better understand our roles and responsibilities in the system so that we are working together to meet the needs of those affected by family violence and sexual violence.

Some of this is uncomfortable work. We have to challenge our assumptions about what works, we must listen to people who have previously been silenced, we may have to give some of our own power away and share space with others. And we will need to prioritise government work differently so that we’re investing in what works, and ensuring we join the dots between the issues of incomes, housing, health, mental health, education, gender equality, family violence and sexual violence. Achieving this change so that it’s sustainable into the future, will take time.   

As we do this work, we can be assured that it is worthwhile because we will achieve significant improvements in the safety and wellbeing of New Zealanders. You may have heard the Prime Minister and other Ministers affirming our view that ending family violence and sexual violence is one of our greatest opportunities to improve wellbeing. That’s because of the prevalence of violence and its lasting impacts on people’s lives.

I am excited about this work. And I am really pleased to have an amazing group of Māori leaders working with us in the Interim Te Rōpū(external link) to develop a national strategy and action plan. Te Rōpū will also shape our engagement approach on the strategy and inform the enduring arrangements for Māori involvement in the Government’s work on family violence and sexual violence. 

Over the next few months, we will be using a collaborative process to design the national strategy and action plan.

The strategy and action plan will galvanise our collective efforts – across government and working with whānau and communities – to reduce family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau. This will set a clear direction for our collective commitment to reduce family violence and sexual violence, clarifying the most critical strategic objectives and identifying the actions required across the system. New Zealanders will be invited to contribute their ideas and I would welcome strong engagement. This is a valuable opportunity to ensure that the national strategy and action plan to end family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau, reflects the needs of all communities and gives voice to those affected by violence. 

I am mindful of the complexity of these issues and the need to build shared understanding and language as we work. But I know that across government and in communities there is a determination to keep building on the progress to date, including the new Family Violence Act, to achieve real change.

I look forward to working with everyone in the year ahead. 

Opportunity to provide Whānau Resilience Services

 Service providers are invited to apply for funding to participate in the co-design and delivery of Whānau Resilience Services for people affected by family violence.

Whānau Resilience Services will be nationally procured and regionally co-designed. The Registration of Interest is now live on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS).(external link) Applications close at 1pm on 12 March 2019.

Whānau Resilience Services aim to help people affected by family violence to establish or re-establish a life free from violence and become resilient to the patterns of behaviour that can lead to violence.

Many people affected by family violence present with entrenched intergenerational trauma that takes time to work through and heal. Whānau Resilience will be designed to enable service providers to offer long-term support that is flexibly available for whānau at times of vulnerability.

Providers and/or collectives can apply for this funding in which they will collaborate with other providers within their regions to co-design Whānau Resilience Services.

Find out more about Whānau Resilience on the MSD website(external link)

Police Safety Order risk and needs assessment service

Testing of a new risk and needs assessment service for people issued with a PSO (Police Safety Order) was launched on 11 February 2019.

New family violence legislation requires that people bound by a PSO be offered a risk and needs assessment service.

The test project will determine how this service should be delivered to bound people.  It is led by Ministry of Justice, based on a prototype developed by a design team in 2018 comprising government representatives, NGOs, Māori and people with lived experience.

The goal of the new service is to enhance safety and support for families following a family violence incident, by working closely with the PSO bound person to identify the cause of the violent behaviour and create a plan for long term behaviour change.

The service is being tested in three sites before it is rolled out nationally in late 2019.  They are Counties-Manukau, Hawkes Bay (Hastings) and Christchurch (central). Selection of the sites used criteria based on location, existing integrated practice structure, regional Maori population and agency-sector leadership.

Selection of providers to test the service was based on national criteria, relationship with Ministry of Justice and the local multi-agency forum, with input from Police in each test site. A small number of providers has been chosen for each site.

The service will be tested for six months, from February to August 2019. It is expected that up to 450 participants will complete the service during that time across the three sites.

The test phase will include an independent, formative evaluation which will be undertaken by Allen and Clarke.

For more information contact Project Lead Veronika Munro Veronika.Munro@justice.govt.nz

New law enhances protection for victims of family violence

When the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act takes effect on 1 April 2019, it will be unlawful for employers to treat employees adversely because they are, or are suspected to be, affected by domestic violence.

The Act introduces up to ten days of paid leave per year after 6 months of continuous employment for employees affected family violence (which is separate from annual, sick and bereavement leave entitlements), and gives them the right to request short-term flexible working arrangements to deal with the effects of the family violence. Employers will have an obligation to consider requests for short-term flexible working arrangements within 10 working days. The Act applies even if the violence occurred before the person became an employee.

People who have experienced family violence are present in most workplaces. Often the workplace is the place where those affected by violence feel safest and where they might build the relationships that give them the confidence to seek help. The Act aims to support employees affected by family violence to stay in paid employment. Staying in employment is critical to limiting the effects of family violence.

Ensuring an employee affected by family violence is safe and supported is good for business as it can help improve productivity and employee morale.

During March, government agencies will publish information for employers and employees to support the implementation of the Act, including guidance on workplace family violence policies.

Strengthening the criminal justice system for victims survey

The Chief Victims Advisor, Dr Kim McGregor, wants to ensure that the needs of people who have experienced crime are at the heart of any reform of the criminal justice system.

Many victims/survivors have told us they feel let down by the current system and find it difficult to navigate.

The Strengthening the Criminal Justice System for Victims Survey(external link) is a chance for victims/survivors to tell us their views, what works and what doesn’t, and how it can be improved.

Help us hear from as many victims/survivors as possible – please share the link to survey with your networks. Anyone who has experienced a crime or know someone who has, and people who work to support victims/survivors can take part.

Participation in the survey is anonymous – a summary of its findings will inform the Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata – Safe and Effective Justice programme and our advice to Government.

Take part in the Strengthening the Criminal Justice System for Victims Survey(external link).

The survey closes on Friday 1 March.

New family violence law sees 291 charges of strangulation

Police had laid 291 charges for strangulation offences as at 31 January, following new family violence law taking effect on 3 December. Previously, strangulation was treated as an aggravating factor in assault charges. Making it a stand-alone family violence offence will enable greater visibility of the prevalence of the offence, as well as raising awareness of the seriousness of this crime. Strangulation is an indicator of increasing risk and lethality.

Phase 2 of the new family violence law will take effect in July 2019, delivering a raft of changes to family law and laying the foundations for a more integrated family violence system.

Challenging Conversations and Complicated Spaces:  Titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua

The National Coalition of Specialist Domestic Violence Service Providers, in partnership with Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST) are holding a conference.

“Challenging Conversations and Complicated Spaces: Titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua – Sexual and Domestic Violence Specialist Services reflecting forward" will take place on 12 and 13 September 2019 at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Te Whanganui-ā-Tara (Wellington).

The kaupapa of this conference is sexual and domestic violence prevention and intervention. It will highlight and showcase the work of specialist sexual and domestic violence services. It also aims to provide a platform to engage in kōrero to further improve responses, work together more effectively and create positive change for tamariki, wāhine, tāne and whānau across Aotearoa.

The National Coalition and TOAH-NNEST are now inviting proposals for speakers and workshop facilitators. If you, or anyone you know is interested, please go to this link for more information:

Challenging Conversations and Complicated Spaces [PDF, 109KB](external link)

They look forward to hearing from you.

In a great example of the potential of community-led approaches to strengthening whānau, E Tū Whānau(external link) shares the inspiring story of Pikiao taking the kaupapa of their sports club to a new level.

Eighteen months after their first E Tū Whānau hui, the young pakeke of Pikiao have taken the kaupapa of their beloved sports club to a new, and very positive, level.

Pikiao Club creates whānau-focussed culture

Pikiao is a small, sports-mad iwi centred on Mourea Marae in the Bay of Plenty. League is still their most popular code but a generational shift in attitudes to sport and relationships – with tamariki, between men and women, and between men themselves – is creating an inclusive, whānau-focussed club culture.

A second E Tū Whānau hui, held in November 2018, saw a core group of players and supporters accept the wero laid down by coach Porky Parata and his wife Ranui to be the kahukura, the leaders, their club needs and deserves.

They’ve kicked the after-match heavy drinking sessions to touch and they’ve encouraged wāhine to leave the side-lines and start their own women’s league team. They’ve grown the club membership by making the clubhouse and its surroundings safe for everyone and by welcoming people outside of the tight Pikiao crew who share their whānau-centred values.

Read the full story and watch videos here:

Pikiao Club creates whānau-focussed culture(external link)

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