$500,000 funding to house family violence perpetrators

  • Anne Tolley
  • Amy Adams
Social Development Justice

The Government will provide $500,000 over two years for short-term emergency housing to ensure perpetrators of family violence can be safely kept away from victims at a time of crisis.

Budget 2016 funding will provide emergency housing in Christchurch and Waikato, where the new Integrated Safety Response pilot is being trialled. The ISR pilot aims to ensure families experiencing family violence are safe and receive the services they need to prevent further harm.

“The dedicated emergency housing places will be used when perpetrators are required to stay away from the family home for a short period, but have nowhere else to stay. A shortage of such accommodation can lead to them returning home, sometimes leading to further family violence incidents,” says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

“Through the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, the Government is working to change the system which can inadvertently force victims to bear the burden of keeping themselves safe, rather than focusing on the perpetrator and stopping their behaviour.

“This also sits alongside our $3.6 million National Home Safety Service which is helping 1000 victims a year stay safe in their own home by installing locks and alarm systems.”

“The trauma of family violence is horrific, but can be compounded by further upheaval for victims, with big disruptions to housing, jobs and schooling, as well as community connections and support networks,” says Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

“Evidence suggests that removing perpetrators rather than victims from family violence situations can help prevent homelessness for the victims and creates less disruption in their lives.

“It’s hoped that through this funding, we can reduce trauma for victims, which are often women and children, and their lives returned to normal more quickly.”

The dedicated emergency housing places will be used alongside Police Safety Orders (PSO) when the person bound by it has nowhere else to stay. PSOs, introduced in New Zealand in 2010, allow authorities the power to remove a suspected perpetrator of family violence and require that the perpetrator stays away from the family home for up to five days.

This funding is part of the cross-agency work programme overseen by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, which is committed to reducing family violence and keeping victims safe.