Focus on frontline family violence services

  • Paula Bennett
Social Development and Employment Youth Affairs

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett agrees with Associate Minister Tariana Turia that frontline family violence services must take funding priority.

“The Government invests $62.4million a year in family violence services and that funding must make a real difference in communities,” says Ms Bennett.

“While Minister Turia is overseas, I am speaking on her behalf on this issue to correct some misinformation with a few facts,” says Ms Bennett.

Minister Turia recently announced the reprioritisation of $11.035 million into five initiatives including a new Family Services Fund worth $8.535 million which providers can apply to.

“I also ensured an extra $2.8 million went into family violence funding this year,” says Ms Bennett.

Since the announcement both Labour and the Greens have attempted to make political capital by misinforming the public about funding.

“Both are claiming frontline services are at risk, which is patently untrue, in fact funding is being moved to the frontline not away from it,” says Ms Bennett.

“I’ve seen reports about self-defence courses facing cuts, those providers can and should apply to the new fund,” says Ms Bennett. 

“I’ve also seen reports of funding cuts to providers like the National Collective of Women’s Refuge which need clarification,” says Ms Bennett.

“The safety of women and children is absolutely paramount and our commitment to protecting the safety of families is clearly evident,” says Ms Bennett. 

The National Collective of Women's Refuges received $7.6million in 2008/09, $9.2million in 2009/10 (which included an extra $1.7million through the Community Response Fund) and $7.2 million in funding this financial year.

Overall funding to all refuges has gone from $8.3million in 2007/08 to $11.9million in 2010/11 an increase of 43%, plus an extra $3million in Community Response Funding over the past two years.

Women’s Refuge was advised funding for advocacy services to lobby government would not continue, but operational funding would remain unchanged, meaning there should be no effect on provision of bed nights.

“Women’s Refuge along any with other family violence service provider, is welcome to apply to the new fund,” says Ms Bennett.

“The work they do is important and that’s why the Government funds them to the tune of $7million a year.”

“But in the current economic environment, all funding must be scrutinised to ensure a focus on the most effective spend,” says Ms Bennett.

Applications for the Fund have been open all month and close tomorrow.

For more information about the Fund: