Monday, 20 May 2019 - 10:57am

Funding pledge for safer whānau

3 min read

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Key initiatives which are making a difference for families at risk of violence and harm will receive funding in the forthcoming Budget, the Government announced yesterday.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush welcomed the family violence budget announcement which will help build the foundations for an effective response in every part of New Zealand.

“As a member of the multi-agency Joint Venture group, Police welcomes funding to continue its critical work in providing safe and effective responses - along with our partner agencies - to address family violence and harm,” says Commissioner Bush.

“Police plays a vital role with regard to crisis intervention; however, it is the effectiveness of the system as a whole, including other government agencies, NGOs, Iwi and communities, that will make the difference for our communities.

“We are proud to be part of this change.”

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that Budget 2019 includes funding for a raft of family violence initiatives, including:

  • the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) pilot in Christchurch and Waikato;

  • proximity alarms pilot in the ISR sites;

  • victim video statements in all police districts;

  • support for Whangaia Ngā Pā Harakeke in Counties Manukau and Tairāwhiti and for Whiria Te Muka in Kaitaia.

Commissioner Bush says the complex and challenging problem of family violence and harm requires an effective and integrated response.

“The ISR model and our wider work on family violence and harm is delivering this, by taking a whole-of-family and whānau approach to address and prevent violence,” he says.

Interim findings from a 2018/19 evaluation of the ISR pilots show the model is making a positive difference for families and whānau involved and that victims are feeling safer and are accessing support services.

Jackie Burrows, Chief Executive Officer of He Waka Tapu, says the collaboration and structure involved in the ISR process are central to its success.

“ISR provides the platform to work in a coordinated and concentrated way – providing the right support, at the right time,” she says. “Any future response to family violence and harm needs to mirror this.”

The ISR model combines dedicated staff, funded specialist services and an intensive case management approach. Most ISR funding is invested in non-government organisation services.

According to Professor Devon Polaschek from Waikato University, this investment is crucial, as a range of services with knowledge and expertise is required to address family violence and harm.

“It takes a lot of time to build a good response system, and every community is different,” says Devon. “The evaluation results for Māori are particularly promising and reflect a good deal of growth in Kaupapa Māori providers and whānau-centred service provision.”

Other funded initiatives, including the national rollout of victim video statements and proximity alarms pilot, deliver on Police’s Safer Whānau programme of work, providing a better and safer service to victims of family harm.

After a successful proof of concept and pilot, victim video statements will be rolled out across the country over the next year.

The video statements are taken at the scene of family violence episodes and played in court as evidence in chief. This process is faster and less complex than a written statement and captures the victim’s views in their own words on video.

The use of proximity alarms for family violence victims and defendants will be piloted in ISR sites for 12 months. They are used in conjunction with a robust safety plan and as part of court bail conditions, to provide an additional layer of safety for the victim.

Related information:

Integrated Safety Response interim evaluation findings

Wellbeing Budget - Ministry of Justice website

Safer Whānau aims to reduce family violence and harm by partnering with iwi, community and other agencies. It is one of the workstreams of Police’s transformation programme The Safest Country - Policing 2021.
The Joint Venture Business Unit (JVBU) leads and coordinates the whole-of-government response to family violence and sexual violence.