$3.6 million to extend Home Safety Service nationwide

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams has today launched the expansion of the National Home Safety Service to better protect up to 1000 victims of family violence each year.

The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges has been awarded a three-year $3.6 million contract which will begin on 1 July 2015.

The service will assist up to 400 victims of family violence a year, and up to 600 children, to remain in their homes with a significantly reduced risk of serious physical harm or violence.

It makes victims’ homes safer from attack by replacing glass panelled doors with solid doors, installing security lights and monitored personal alarms, replacing locks and repairing broken windows, and linking victims to other agencies that can help.

“Too many people continue to be re-victimised, even when a protection order is in place. The National Home Safety Service will provide victims of serious family violence with simple, practical help to make them feel safer in their own homes,” says Ms Adams.

The national service builds on a smaller pilot programme that has been running in Auckland since 2008 and in Tauranga and Christchurch for the past three years.

“Evaluations of these smaller pilot programmes show the service helps family violence victims remain in their homes without fear, and reduces re-victimisation,” says Ms Adams.

Key findings from the pilot programme include:

  • Prior to the pilot programme, 85 per cent of the participants had to move house due to the offender’s actions but after the pilot programme none had to move house
  • No participants reported receiving any injuries following the security upgrade (40 per cent had experienced serious and/or potentially life-threatening injuries prior to the upgrade)
  • No children reported being hurt by offenders following the security upgrade (72 per cent of 43 participants with children said that their children had been hurt by the offender prior to the programme)
  • Participants reported improvements in sleep, self-confidence, concentration or memory, anxiety or panic attacks, depression, alcohol or drug intake, and happiness after the security upgrade.

Ms Adams says the new service demonstrates the Government’s commitment to better protecting victims of family violence.  It is part of the suite of initiatives announced by the Government in July 2014 in its Stronger Response to Family Violence package.

“Reducing the incidence of family and domestic violence is one of my main priorities. This is only one part of the range of initiatives we have underway to better protect victims.”

Ms Adams says Women’s Refuges were well placed to take on the contract.

“Women’s Refuges have a well-established reputation of protecting women from family violence.  With its network of refuges throughout New Zealand, it will mean easier access to the home safety service for those most at risk.”