Family violence and sexual violence is unacceptable. However, New Zealand has amongst the highest reported rates of family violence and sexual violence in the developed world.
To address this, a cross-government work programme is putting in place a wide range of initiatives to stop violence from occurring, reduce the harm it causes, and break the cycle of re-victimisation and re-offending. The work programme is also focused on improving and co-ordinating existing services.
This will help ensure victims and families get help tailored to their needs, and perpetrators are held to account and supported to change their behaviour.
The Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, co-chaired by the Ministers of Justice and Social Development, is providing leadership and oversight of the work programme.
The Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme aims to reduce the devastating impact that family violence and sexual violence have on people and communities across the country.
New Zealand needs an integrated and effective system for addressing these forms of violence that is joined up, aligned and makes a difference.
The work programme is currently focused on striking a balance between two key needs: acting now to invest in services that have a good chance of making a difference, and taking time to build evidence about what works.
Creating a common Risk Assessment and Management Framework that people who work in the family violence sector can use to determine the risks victims face and the threats perpetrators pose. This will help to keep people safe by identifying family violence earlier, and preventing it from reoccurring and becoming more serious. Find out about the Risk Assessment and Management Framework
Appointing agencies to lead coordination of primary prevention and perpetrator programmes, which will help coordinate services and investment decisions in these areas. The leads are the Ministry of Social Development for family violence primary prevention; Accident Compensation Corporation for sexual violence primary prevention; and the Department of Corrections for programmes for adult family violence perpetrators.
Developing specialist services to better support victims and prevent sexual violence. This focuses on developing sexual violence crisis support services (including a national sexual violence helpline accessible by phone and online), harmful sexual behaviour services for non-mandated adults (that is, people who haven't been directed by a court to attend a treatment programme or be assessed) and services for male survivors of sexual abuse. Find out about this work (external link).
Developing advice on an overarching policy framework and governance arrangements to support effective and sustainable investment in sexual violence services.
A review of family violence legislation to ensure it protects victims and holds offenders to account. The public was consulted in 2015 as part of the review. The Minister of Justice expects to introduce a Bill in 2017.
To read or sign up to receive updates about the work programme, go to:
The current work programme builds on initiatives launched since July 2014, when the Government announced a cross-government package to address family violence and sexual violence. Progress so far includes:
Safer Sooner: Strengthening family violence laws The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill is being considered by Parliament. The Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and other legislation including the Crimes Act, to focus on intervening earlier to prevent future violence.
Piloting supervised handover services (external link) Families who’ve separated in the wake of family violence will be able to avoid contentious meetings when their children are transferred from one parent to the other, thanks to a new pilot in Rotorua and Whanganui.
Assessing recommendations from Law Commission projects about alternative court process for sexual violence cases, whether there should be an offence of non-fatal strangulation, and possible changes to the law of self defence.