Launch of new family violence work programmeJustice Social Development
Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley have today launched a new work programme to ensure government agencies respond better to family and sexual violence.
“Despite crime rates in New Zealand falling to a 35-year low, family violence remains unacceptably high,” Justice Minister Amy Adams says.
“We need to do more to prevent and address family violence in New Zealand.
That means taking a hard look at the way government agencies currently work together and what improvements can be made to help break the cycle of violence.”
Earlier this year, the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence commissioned a stocktake of family and sexual violence services across all Government agencies.
“We wanted to get a better picture of what was being spent where and its effectiveness, which is in line with our wider social investment approach,” Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.
The stocktake found the Government spends an estimated $1.4 billion each year responding to family and sexual violence. It highlighted that while good work was being done, there is room for improvement, with fragmentation and duplication of services among some of the issues raised.
The new family violence work programme seeks to address those issues. It will be used to develop a whole-of-government strategy to tackle these problems and provide better results for victims.
The work programme will:
- focus on reducing the long-term harm of family violence
- gain a better understanding of the current gaps and duplication in services, as well as look at what initiatives are delivering results, so that better investment decisions can be made
- determine how services are linked together across government, with a view to appointing lead agencies to focus on particular areas of work
- ensure services are focused on clients’ needs
- ensure the two work streams led by Justice and Social Development are part of a cohesive whole.
“This new work is about focusing on delivering services that are effective, so we actually improve the lives of our most vulnerable New Zealanders,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The work programme builds on the practical package of initiatives we announced last year, which included establishing a Chief Victims Advisor, rolling out a nationwide home safety service and reviewing our domestic violence laws. The work programme is being expanded to include sexual violence,” says Ms Adams.
As part of the new approach, Ministers will be more involved in coordinated decision-making through the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. They will also ensure that NGOs have a bigger role to play. The Ministerial group replaces the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families.
Ministers will receive further analysis of which agencies are best placed to ensure that services are effective across Government.
Agencies will develop advice, an investment strategy and an action plan, with the first report due to be provided to Cabinet by December 2015.
The Ministerial Group On Family Violence And Sexual Violence Cabinet Paper can be found at https://beehive.govt.nz/webfm_send/68