Doing things differently to end family and sexual violence

For the first time, chief executives from across the public service will be taking collective responsibility to end family and sexual violence in New Zealand.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in Gisborne, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) Jan Logie outlined the “joint venture” approach which will ensure every part of the government is working together in a strategic, planned way.

“Everyone should be able to live free from violence, but too often people don’t know where to go for help, or don’t have the right kind of help available to them. As a society, we have tragically failed to provide sustainable support or put resources into preventing family and sexual violence from happening in the first place,” says Jan Logie.

“We have to stop splitting this issue up into half a dozen unconnected silos. Family and sexual violence are complicated, affect every part of our community and demand a coordinated, committed response.”

The joint venture business unit will report to a board made up of the chief executives of ten government agencies including Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, Social Development, Justice and Police. It will be informed by an independent Māori advisory group and other stakeholders.

Its first task will be to develop a national strategy and action plan to reduce and ultimately end family and sexual violence.

“We want to see less offending, less re-offending, and fewer victims of crime who are better supported. Removing obstacles which frustrate government agencies from working effectively together is important for building a more safe and effective justice system,” says Minister of Justice Andrew Little.

“Today’s announcement puts a decade of government neglect behind us and sets a course to reducing New Zealand’s unacceptable record of sexual and domestic violence.”

Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni says addressing and reducing family and sexual violence is essential to improving the wellbeing of children, families and our communities. “This new approach ensures there is cross-government accountability for the safety and security of all New Zealanders,” she says.

“This Government is putting communities, Māori, and those most harmed by family and sexual violence at the centre of our decision-making and working for long-lasting, positive change,” says Jan Logie.

“I am incredibly proud to see the chief executives of all these departments stepping up to work together. We are all critical parts of the solution to end this blight on our society.”