Home Safety Service rolled out nationwide

  • Amy Adams

Up to 1000 victims of family violence will be better protected with the rollout of the National Home Safety Service, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, which was awarded a three-year $3.6 million contract in March, will begin rolling out the service today.

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.

“Our homes should be a place where we can feel safe and secure.  Sadly, all too often victims of family violence and their children continue to be re-victimised and have to seek shelter elsewhere,” Ms Adams says. 

“Through practical help – as simple as replacing a glass panelled door with a solid one, installing security lights, cutting back vegetation or replacing locks and repairing broken windows and providing advice – we can make a measurable difference to the lives and security of victims of serious family violence.”

The national service builds on a pilot programme that has been running in Auckland since 2008 and more recently in Christchurch and Tauranga.

“Evaluations of these programmes show the service helps family violence victims remain in their homes without fear and the threat of further violence and intimidation.  Many victims found they had to move house and either they or children suffered injuries from offenders before the upgrade and that stopped once their homes were more secure,” Ms Adams says.

Ms Adams says the Government is committed to better protecting victims of family violence and further initiatives will be announced this year.

“The home safety service is a fantastic and practical initiative but it is only one part of addressing New Zealand’s unacceptable rate of family violence, Ms Adams says.

“We’ve already increased the maximum penalty for breaching a protection order from two to three years and later this year I’ll be appointing New Zealand’s inaugural Chief Victims Advisor and issuing a new Victims Code of Rights,” Ms Adams says.