Welcome to the archive of updates about the cross-government family violence and sexual violence work programme.

On this page:

16 June 2017

Research on family violence services starts next week

The multi-agency team has commissioned research to help improve understanding of the depth and breadth of family violence service needs. Research consultancy Allen + Clarke, supported by specialist researchers Devon Polaschek, Sue Carswell, Hector Kaiwai and Louise Dixon will examine the range of services needed by family and whānau affected by family violence, and identify and asses options for people to get timely access to this help and support.

Over the coming weeks, the research team will be interviewing providers from around the country, and across all types of services including both family violence specialist and general (such as mental health and AOD). They will also be speaking to victims and perpetrators who have been appropriately and ethically selected by providers. Naturally, the researchers can’t speak to everyone, but if you’d particularly like to take part, you are welcome to email us a few lines about the service you provide, where you are located, and who your clients are, and we will pass those on to the researchers. They can then make some additional selections, in keeping with the sampling methodology.

Summit survey closes today

So far 81 people have given their views on the topics discussed at last week’s Family Violence Summit 2017. The most frequently commented on topic has been ‘helping children and their whānau to live without family violence’ with 62 responses. The survey closes at midnight tonight. You can make a submission here. Analysing of the submissions will start next week, and once complete, we’ll share the results online and through this newsletter.

The outcomes from the Summit and the online survey will feed into the work of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Watch Summit speakers online

Replays of speeches from Ministers, the chair and the keynote speakers are now available at link). Copies of Frameworks Minister Adams and Minister Tolley launched two frameworks at the Summit that were developed with the sector. The Workforce Capability Framework outlines the competencies, knowledge, skills and organisational structures that support the workforce to recognise and respond to family and sexual violence. The Risk Assessment and Management Framework outlines how to screen, assess and manage family violence risk, so that people get a consistent, effective response wherever they go for help. More practice guidance is also being developed. Both documents are available online for you to read, and begin thinking about how they fit with the services you provide. They are designed to assist and support you.

If you’d like copies sent to you, email us at

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9 June 2017

Family Violence Summit concludes

This week’s Family Violence Summit, hosted by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Minister for Social Development and Children Anne Tolley, brought together 120 people from across the sector, and so far 56 people have also made an online contribution to the discussion.

Watch and comment

You can view replays of the talks given by Ministers, keynotes speakers and chair Sir Wira Gardiner from Monday next week. They will be online at link).

We are continuing to collect thoughts, ideas and suggestions from anyone with an interest in combating family violence until next Friday (June 16). Make a submission.

Frameworks launched

Minister Adams and Minister Tolley launched two frameworks on the day that were developed with the sector. The Workforce Capability Framework outlines the competencies, knowledge, skills and organisational support needed by the workforce to recognise and respond to family and sexual violence. It sets the benchmark expected of the workforce. The Risk Assessment and Management Framework outlines how to screen, assess and manage family violence risk, so that people get a consistent, effective response wherever they go for help.

We invite you to read and reflect on these documents. They are available online, and if you’d like a copy, email us at

Over the next few months, the Risk Assessment and Management Framework will be tested by sector organisations, and at the same time supporting codes of practice, guidance and training will be developed. The Workforce Capability Framework is ready for everyone to test on the ground.

Summit outcomes

We’re collecting and analysing the views raised at the Summit and online, and once that’s done we’ll share them via this newsletter. In the meantime, here are a couple of thoughts from two of the day’s keynote speakers.

Senior Lecturer at Otago University’s Sociology, Gender and Social Work department, and Chair of the Social Workers Registration board Shayne Walker says there were “at times some fantastic korero”, but it’s got to be “beyond a talkfest”.

“Please have a good, in depth read of the Workforce Capability Framework. Chew it, swallow what you can and interpret it so you can use it now. I apologise if we have not included all of your dreams and aspirations within its pages, but as a framework it becomes transformative as everyone knows clearly what their job is and how to do it. In this sense we can respect each other more and work from an agreed set of principles, knowledge and actions.

“Once you have started using the frameworks, we need to create a new narrative about Family Violence 6 months out, 12 months out and 2 years out. Those who came to this event and all of those they work with require us to do this so we can have a different conversation in 3 years’ time.”

Sue Hobbs, who has worked in family violence prevention for over 30 years, and who developed the Safeguarding Adults Against Abuse (SAFA) integrated safety response, says the Summit was significant in that it raised the profile of older adults, disabled people, and adults with complex care and support needs.

“The invisible community is not recognised well in the system. It was good to be able to highlight before Ministers and participants the reality of adults who (in the same way as children) are often not able to remove themselves from risk of serious harm.”

A challenge for us all

As part of his personal reflection on the day, Shayne has thrown down a challenge he calls ‘Potential of the Present’ – an idea for a ground swell movement based on a simple, spreadable action.

“What if we all went home from the Summit to our families and whanau and called a family gathering / meal to clarify our own beliefs and actions regarding family violence. The agenda could be:

  • What is violence and is it ever acceptable?
  • What is a coercive relationship?
  • If we see it or are affected, who do we agree to talk to and what do we agree to do?
  • How can we spread this conversation into each of our wider circles of friends and acquaintances?

“With some simple maths, 10 people can become 1,000,000 people. We can create a movement of discussion, knowledge and action. Let’s ask ourselves as leaders in the field – am I prepared to have this conversation in my own family and whanau?”
Shayne says if you like the idea “or want to talk about a better one”, please get in touch at

The outcomes from the Summit and the online survey will feed into the work of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

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May 2017

We want to hear from you

On June 7 a Family Violence Summit will be held in Wellington, bringing together people from across the sector to build on the conversation to date about breaking the patterns of family violence and working together effectively.

The Summit is being hosted by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley, and chaired by Sir Wira Gardiner.

Although not everyone could be invited, we very much want to gather views from as wide a cross-section of the sector as possible.

We’ve created a web page, on which there’s an online survey so you can comment on the Summit themes, or any other aspect of family violence, and can also watch live-streaming of the Ministerial and keynote addresses, and the Chair's summary from 8:20am to 10:00am and from 4:20pm to 4:50pm on June 7.

Visit the Family Violence Summit page to learn more about the Summit and give your views, and please feel free to share this link with your colleagues. The survey will remain open until Friday, June 16.

After the Summit, we will publish the key points and issues raised on the day, as well as those raised online. The results will feed into the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.
The Summit themes are:

  • Helping children and their whānau to live without family violence
  • Kaupapa Māori whānau-centred approaches
  • Taking opportunities to intervene earlier
  • Supporting seniors, people with disabilities and migrant communities

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April 2017

Family Violence Summit

A national summit on family violence, hosted by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley, will take place in Wellington on June 7.

The Summit will bring together people from the sector to continue the conversation about how we work together and make change to break the pattern of family violence and reduce harm. Invitees will cover a broad cross-section of interests and views including NGOs, support workers, victims, former perpetrators and government agencies.

It supports the work already underway as part of the Government’s family violence reforms, which includes the introduction of the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill to overhaul the Domestic Violence Act and strengthen family violence laws.

Although numbers are limited for this event, the Summit is one of many opportunities there will be to engage with the sector.

Any further questions, feel free to contact

New multi-agency team to drive Family Violence and Sexual Violence work programme

A new multi-agency team has been established to co-ordinate and drive the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. The multi-agency team is made-up of officials drawn from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, Corrections and Police.

Bringing together the various agencies under one team reflects the need for a joined up and integrated response to family and sexual violence, by Crown agencies and across the sector. As the work programme has progressed we have found it increasingly important to ensure that all the connections between the work are being made at every level. The multi-agency team is an efficient and effective way to achieve that.

Government agencies will continue to deliver many major aspects of the work programme individually, whilst the overarching strategy will be co-ordinated through this team.

More information about the work programme

Any further questions, feel free to contact

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December 2016

In this update you’ll find:

Programme overview

The Government is committed to reducing family violence and sexual violence and keeping victims safe. A cross-government work programme is dedicated to addressing this challenge.

The programme focuses on preventing violence, reducing the harm it causes, better supporting victims, and holding perpetrators to account and helping them change their behaviour. It brings together a wide range of government agencies including the ministries of Social Development, Justice, Health and Education, NZ Police, ACC and Department of Corrections, among others. The programme is overseen by a ministerial group, co-chaired by the ministers of Justice and Social Development – that’s why these efforts are officially referred to as the Ministerial Work Programme on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

We’re aiming to create an effective, integrated system by working closely together with government agencies, NGOs, service providers, community providers and people who need support from the system.

We know people and organisations across the family and sexual violence sector are working hard – especially at this time of year – and are committed to addressing violence. We’ll continue to seek their input and draw on their expertise so we can collectively develop a system that works well and makes a difference.

For more information about the programme, go to:

Family violence and sexual violence work programme

Risk Assessment and Management Framework

The Risk Assessment and Management Framework (RAMF) is a project led by the Ministry of Justice. The RAMF will support a shared understanding of family violence and its dynamics and help establish a consistent and integrated approach by agencies and services to screening, risk assessment and risk management.

Consultation feedback and next steps

During the consultation in August and September, we received substantial and really useful feedback from a wide range of family violence stakeholders. We’re very grateful for their insights on how to strengthen the framework.

There was overwhelming support for what the RAMF is trying to achieve and there’s clearly a need for it. However, based on the feedback, we also have a lot of work to do to develop a RAMF that’s fit for purpose. With this in mind, we’ll develop and implement the RAMF in 2 phases.

In phase 1, the original draft RAMF is being comprehensively reworked. It will now provide an overarching framework containing principles and expectations for organisations and individuals that work with people affected by family violence. It will include a whānau-centered kaupapa Māori approach, strong recognition of children, and practices for responding to diverse population groups (for example, different ethnic communities, refugees, LGBTI peoples). We’ll continue to refine the overarching framework into 2017, to allow more sector engagement and to ensure it aligns with other work that’s going on, especially the Workforce Capability Framework being led by the Ministry of Social Development (see below).

In phase 2, we’ll develop sector-specific practice guidance, risk assessment tools and training material. From early 2017, we’ll work with ‘early adopters’ to develop this content.  This will help ensure everyone adopts a common and widely accepted approach, with guidance and tools tailored to specific sectors. This process will also respond to consultation feedback which highlighted a need to work more collaboratively, sector-by-sector and with Māori to develop practice guidance for the RAMF. As with phase 1, we’ll closely cooperate with the Family Violence Workforce Development Project.

We’ll work on both phases concurrently, although the latter work will run for longer. How and when the RAMF will be rolled out more widely hasn’t been decided yet, but this will be informed by our ongoing work with the sector.

For more information on the feedback we received, including a summary of submissions and the consultation workshop summary report, see:

Risk assessment and management framework consultation(external link)

Workforce Capability Framework

The draft 'Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Violence within Whānau Workforce Capability Framework' sets a vision for excellence in the family violence and sexual violence workforce.

Co-designed by a sector-led Expert Design Group, the draft framework identifies the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for a safe and competent family violence and sexual violence workforce. It covers all people, organisations and communities that work with family and sexual violence in New Zealand.

The framework poses questions through its 6 ‘domains’ to prompt members of the workforce (at every level) to reflect on their practice and opportunities for improvement. When we initially consulted, the reflective question sections were well received by the various sectors; people told us they were a practical tool to lift capability.

Send us your feedback

We’re now consulting more widely on the draft framework. To join the conversation, go to the consultation and ‘ask to join group.’

Workforce Capability Framework consultation(external link)

The consultation is open until 7 February, 2017. If you’d rather give your feedback or ask questions in confidence, you can email

As well as considering your feedback, we’ll use insights gained from working with Integrated Safety Response sites (see below) to inform the final version of the framework.

Paper focuses on positive change

The latest issues paper from the Family Violence Clearinghouse, ‘Responding to perpetrators of family violence,’ focuses on how New Zealand can achieve positive change with perpetrators of family violence.

One of the paper’s key findings is that integrated response systems are the best way to respond to family violence in New Zealand. According to researcher Devon Polaschek, the essential components of such systems include coordination between crisis response and immediate containment, criminal and civil court proceedings, sentences or order compliance, risk monitoring and behaviour change components, and providing services based on risk and need.

Polaschek argues these systems offer more opportunities to hold perpetrators to account and, in turn, will result in better outcomes for keeping victims safe. To read the full report see:

Responding to perpetrators of family violence(external link)

New campaign highlights danger signs

A new 'It's not OK' campaign launched this month highlights the signs that a woman is in danger of being killed by her partner or ex-partner.

This project was developed in response to a request from the NZ Death Review Committee to increase New Zealanders’ knowledge of coercive control and the lethality indicators. These danger signs are often missed by friends and family who don’t realise the behaviour they’re seeing is serious.

New resources (including ‘Know the danger signs’ posters and brochures) are available via a dedicated section on the It’s not OK website. You can also view videos featuring real people who lost a loved one because of family violence on the It’s not OK YouTube channel.

Through this project it’s hoped that more New Zealanders will know the danger signs, know they’re serious and take action to protect people in danger.

It’s not OK website(external link)

It’s not OK You Tube channel(external link)

Enrol now for postgraduate violence prevention course

Enrolments are now open for the University of Auckland’s Postgraduate Violence Prevention Studies 2017. The course is designed for practitioners, health promoters, researchers, policy analysts and managers to increase knowledge and understanding of intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, and other forms of family and whānau violence.

For more information about the course, see:

Postgraduate Violence Studies 2017 [PDF, 87KB](external link)

Stay informed

Family and Sexual Violence Work programme updates

If you know anyone who might like to subscribe to these updates, they can email

Integrated Safety Response (ISR) pilot - newsletter

The ISR is a key initiative under the work programme and ISR team produces a regular newsletter. See the December 2016 issue:

ISR newsletter December 2016(external link)

Sexual violence service development update

Several key initiatives in the work programme are focused on reducing sexual violence and better supporting victims. The team working on these initiatives also produces a regular update. If you want to subscribe, or have any questions or feedback on these projects, please email

Contact us

If you have any questions about the work programme or this newsletter, please email us at

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