Waikato ISR pilot site opens its doors

  • Judith Collins
  • Anne Tolley
  • Amy Adams
Social Development Police Justice

Ministers today welcomed the start of the second Integrated Safety Response (ISR) pilot site in Waikato and announced another $1.4 million in new funding to support the pilot programme.

The ISR pilot involves core agencies and specialist family violence NGOs working together as a team to ensure that families experiencing violence get the help and support they need to stay safe.

An additional $1.4 million from the Justice Sector Fund will support the new site in Waikato, as well as the Christchurch pilot site which has been up and running since 4 July.

“New Zealand has some of the highest reported levels of family violence in the world. The Government is committed to reducing family violence by stopping it from occurring, reducing the insidious harm it causes and breaking the cycle across families and generations. Our family violence reforms are focused on building a system that is focused on better identifying risk and better targeting responses to affected families much sooner than has historically been the case,” Justice Minister Amy Adams says.

“The investment by the Justice Sector Fund recognises that we see the ISR pilot as a critical part of the frontline delivery of this new approach.”

“Extending the pilot to Waikato provides an opportunity to assess how well the model works across a diverse population including a higher proportion of rural and Māori communities. Our aim is to ensure a new national model is robust and adaptable and makes a real difference to the lives of victims and their families,” Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.

“The Waikato Family Safe Network has already made a positive impact on how family violence is responded to in the region. However, the ISR approach provides some significant differences – these include the introduction of Independent Victim Specialists who work with high risk victims to support those victims who are at risk of further serious harm.

“ISR also includes perpetrator outreach services to provide interventions for perpetrators to break the cycle of violence.”

“Christchurch was the first pilot site for the ISR pilot approach which has been running since 4 July. By bringing together Police, CYF, Corrections, Health, ACC, specialist family violence NGOs and Māori service providers to the table, relevant information is shared to more accurately assess risk and provide the support a family needs to be safe and move to a life that is free from violence,” Police Minister Judith Collins says.

“We’re seeing some positive stories coming out of Christchurch, for example, a case where a high risk offender was arrested just a block from his partner’s address at 4am less than 24 hours after his release from prison. A potential homicide was prevented because the Safety Assessment Meeting identified him as ‘high risk’ and put in place a number of measures including a family safety plan for his partner, installation of an alarm and proactive police street patrols.”

Tools and processes developed for the Christchurch site are also being used for ISR in Waikato. For example, the electronic case management system is considered to be a ‘game changer’ by agencies. In addition, risk assessment guidelines, information sharing protocols and training are all part of a suite of features designed to support agencies work together more effectively.

The Government spends around $1.4 billion per year addressing family violence and sexual violence – with around 90 per cent spent on the aftermath, such as police callouts, injury treatment and holding offenders to account.

The ISR pilot 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.