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Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme Update – September 2018

September 21, 2018 at 12:02 PM

From the Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme

Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to the September update on the Government’s family and sexual violence work programme. In this edition we feature:

Update from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary

Amendments to Family Violence Bill

E Tū Whānau resources in demand

Piloting of court support for survivors of sexual violence

Submissions on family justice reforms open until 9 November

Update on development of Ministry of Social Development Family Violence Funding Plan

ACC helps to extend Family Violence programme

Stay in touch and invite others to do the same

Update from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Domestic and Sexual Violence), Jan Logie MP

In July, I led the Government delegation to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held at the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. The delegation included representatives from the Ministry for Women, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Te Puni Kōkiri.

The periodic examinations assess our implementation of CEDAW, which is the primary international instrument that defines women’s rights and sets out an agenda for countries to end discrimination.

The Committee’s Concluding Observations endorsed a number of New Zealand’s legislative reforms and institutional and policy developments on gender equality. They also set out some areas of concern and provided 78 recommendations for improvement, covering the 16 substantive articles of CEDAW. The Committee highlighted four recommendations for early attention. These relate to the resourcing of the Human Rights Commission and its ability to receive and process complaints from migrants; a strategy to combat gender-based violence, including measures that specifically protect women with disabilities that are confronting abusive care-givers; decriminalisation of abortion; and access to justice in the Family Court system, particularly relating to domestic violence. An interim written report is due to the Committee by July 2020, providing information on the steps taken to implement these four recommendations. The Government is then required to submit its ninth periodic report, responding to all 78 recommendations, in 2022.

The Government values the Committee’s recommendations and is currently considering how to approach the overall response in our work to advance the wellbeing of New Zealand women. As part of that response, we are keen to explore with New Zealand women and non-government organisations how we can best address these issues. Actions are already underway to address a number of the recommendations, including the work I’m leading on family violence and sexual violence system transformation, and the Law Commission’s review on abortion.

Amendments to Family Violence Bill

The Minister of Justice, Hon Andrew Little, and Under-Secretary, Jan Logie MP, have announced amendments to the Family Violence Bill, designed to strengthen the legislative foundations of the family violence system.

“This Government has reiterated addressing family violence is a priority in its work to improve the wellbeing of families and children, and our aim is to reduce the harm that family violence causes in New Zealand,” said Andrew Little.

“One of the main changes is allowing Police Safety Orders to protect victims for up to ten days. This will provide victims with more time to put in place safety arrangements at a crucial point in time. Other changes include:

  • modernising the Domestic Violence Act to improve its usability
  • further recognising the coercion and control elements of family violence
  • requiring assessors and providers to take into account victim views, and
  • specifying that dowry abuse is a form of family violence.

“I’ve talked about the need for action to address family violence across Government, in businesses, in communities and within families and whānau. I’ve referred to the appalling family violence incidents that are far too common in our society, the need to make real change to better protect victims and to take steps to prevent perpetrators from inflicting violence on family members.

“Central to this is the modernisation of law, with the Family Violence Bill passing its second reading with unanimous support in Parliament. The Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2016 following extensive public consultation on family violence law reform.

“The Family Violence Bill lays the foundations for the transformation of the family violence response system by promoting consistent, collaborative responses to people experiencing family violence. The amendments we are making will strengthen the focus on victims, clarify the law and enable government and communities to work together. We want to make a real difference to the wellbeing of men, women, and children affected by violence,” said Mr Little.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence), Jan Logie said, “We identified in the select committee report that more can be done. That more must be done. This is a huge opportunity and we must do all we can to make transformational change. The submissions on the Bill and the ongoing conversations I have been having with communities have driven the changes we will be making to this Bill at the Committee of the Whole House stage. I have been working closely with the Minister of Justice on this Bill and am pleased with the changes we will be making.”

For more information

E Tū Whānau resources in demand

Over the last decade, E Tū Whānau has worked with whānau, hapū and iwi to develop resources that support their vision for a violence-free Aotearoa.

These resources – values booklets, pass-along cards and whakatauki posters – share practical, kaupapa Māori ways of making this vision a reality. They’re designed to highlight and verify cultural values and traditions and to inspire community led action for change.

The E Tū Whānau resources are widely used by whānau in their own homes and by hapū and iwi on marae, in sport clubs and in workplaces. People using them in professional settings – schools, tertiary institutions, prisons, public, mental health and service providers – report that they prompt discussion amongst whānau about the positive change they want to see in their own lives and in their community.

Regular surveys are carried out to ensure the resources remain relevant. More than half of respondents to the last survey (2017) said they use them extensively, with 85 percent rating them highly and commenting that they were empowering, easy to relate to, and they help people to have difficult conversations.

Values focused

Te Rangimaria Warbrick is a great fan of E Tū Whānau’s resources. He is a kaiako on the Kaitiakitanga Post Graduate Diploma in Bicultural Professional Supervision studies at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Tauranga. He is very clear that they offer valuable historical and social context to contemporary issues.

“The focus that E Tū Whānau’s resources place on whānau, the E Tū Whānau values, and importantly, how the values can be put into action, really hits home.”

“The Ancestors series is a good example. The accurate information about the way whānau lived in that period between the arrival of the first European settlers and the onset of full colonisation, always generates kōrero on positive whānau attributes.”

Deeper levels of engagement

Further south in Wairoa, they have seen good use of the resources for several years now. Ngaire Sparkes coordinates the E Tū Wairoa initiative, a collaboration of local organisations and people committed to stengthening resilience and the protective factors that contribute to a healthier community free from violence. They participated in the town’s annual Matariki Week for the second time, setting up an E Tū Whānau information table.

“We saw this Matariki event as an opportunity to engage in a meaningful way with whānau by having in-depth conversations about the E Tū Whānau / Wairoa values and how these values strengthen whānau,” says Ngaire.

This year, Ngaire and her team took an E Tu Whanau Values poster, printed it locally and stuck magnets on the back so people could put it on their fridge at home. They also gave away E Tū Whānau helium filled balloons, which proved very popular with tamariki, but there was a twist that worked brilliantly.

“We asked the tamariki to bring their parents, grandparents or older whānau members back with them in order to receive their balloon and goodie bag. Older whānau members who came to support and awhi their tamariki were in turn able to help us explain the values.”

Ngaire said they were impressed by the gang whānau who came up with their tamariki.

“Through this, they showed so much aroha towards their tamariki. They were really keen to engage and talk with us. It was aroha in action! We are keen to build on this next year.”

Piloting of court support for survivors of sexual violence

A pilot service to provide psycho-social support for survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system has started in Auckland.

The pilot is being run by the Ministry of Social Development. The work aims to address a gap identified by the Law Commission's 2015 report ‘The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence'.

Auckland was chosen as the pilot location because of its large metropolitan area, with a highly diverse population and a specialist sexual violence court pilot in operation.

Through the pilot, survivors will be supported leading up to, during and after the criminal justice process. The type of support provided will include (but is not limited to):

  • therapeutic social work
  • preparing the survivor before and during trial, and follow up support afterward
  • in-person support for Police processes and to prepare for cross-examination
  • support through pre-trial viewing of Evidential Video Interview
  • assistance with Victim Impact Statements
  • support at trial, sentencing and probation reviews
  • liaison with court staff and Victims’ Advisors on behalf of the survivor
  • monitoring the safety and wellbeing of survivors, helping them assess their needs (housing, support etc) and linking them to the appropriate government or NGO agency or service
  • facilitating access to appropriate legal representation if requested.

Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation Charitable Trust (HELP) is providing the pilot service for 12 months.

The pilot will be independently evaluated by Malatest International and the findings will inform any future service design for delivering psycho-social support of this type.

Find out more information about the pilot

Submissions on family justice reforms open until 9 November

The Independent Panel considering the 2014 family justice reforms wants to hear from people who have used the Family Court and related services. Submissions close on 9 November.

“We’re keeping an open mind as to what changes may be needed. That’s why it’s important that we hear from as many people as possible. Submissions from those who have had contact with family justice services, or who work in this area on a regular basis, are crucial in helping us understand the strengths and weaknesses in the system,” said Panel Chair, Rosslyn Noonan.

“We’re inviting anyone with experience of family justice services to tell us about whether they found them helpful in navigating separation and the ongoing care of their children. Do the processes introduced in 2014 focus on a child’s welfare, safety and best interests? Do those changes affect Māori whānau, tamariki and rangatahi in different ways? These are among the questions we are asking,” Ms Noonan says.

Find out more and make a submission

Update on development of Ministry of Social Development Family Violence Funding Plan

Valuable insights have been gained from family violence service providers as part of the development of an MSD Family Violence Funding Plan. MSD staff talked to a number of randomly selected family violence service providers throughout New Zealand.

Some of the key themes were:

  • Across New Zealand there are additional factors impacting on family violence which mean that people are presenting with compounding, complex needs. The factors heard about most often were: intergenerational violence and trauma, lack of housing, increased use of drugs and alcohol (mainly P and synthetics), ongoing mental health needs and a lack of services, and the impacts of poverty which are now more pronounced.
  • Providers mentioned that they were facing increased demand levels which they managed in a number of ways – including waitlists, referring to other providers and not being able to promote their services.
  • Staff in this sector are passionate and committed to making a difference in reducing family violence. Staff have been affected by a lack of increased funding through worsened work conditions and real income.
  • Providers recognise that just pouring more money into family violence will not solve the problem. The whole sector (government, communities and NGOs) needs to work differently if we want to achieve better outcomes.
  • Providers are willing to participate in the creation of a better system and recognise that there is no quick fix to family violence in New Zealand.

It is expected the funding plan will be completed later this year. MSD will then be working with communities and the sector to co-design how to put the plan into operation.

Find out more about this work

ACC helps to extend Family Violence programme

The original Gandhi Nivas site at Otahuhu was the first service of its kind in New Zealand that not only involved early intervention work with perpetrators of family violence but also supported their families through counselling.

In December 2016, ACC commenced a partnership with Gandhi Nivas for three years to assist with the provision of counselling expertise needed to help perpetrators examine the consequences of their actions, challenge them to accept responsibility, and help them to change their behaviour. Gandhi Nivas has reached over 1000 men and an additional 2,500 families since its opening in December 2014.

With further support and funding from ACC, Gandhi Nivas has expanded its services to Waitemata, with the former Te Atatu Community Policing Centre being repurposed to provide a suitable accommodation and counselling facility.

On 16 August 2018, the Hon Iain Lees-Galloway, Minister of ACC, formally launched the services at the Waitemata site. Other dignitaries present were Waitemata District Commander Tusha Penny, Deputy Commissioner John Tims, Founder of Gandhi Nivas Ranjna Patel, Human Rights Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue and ACC’s Acting Chief Customer Officer Emma Powell. The spirit of partnership and the gap in service provision for perpetrators were key features of the formal speeches. 

A study by Massey University’s School of Psychology has found a 43.75% drop in the number of men offending after intervention, and a 57.6% decrease in the frequency of re-offending, after intervention in the first year of the Otahuhu site being established and operational. In addition to this, Massey is undertaking a longitudinal qualitative and quantitative study which will explore the experiences of families who have accessed the Gandhi Nivas service.

ACC’s partnership with Gandhi Nivas is part of range of injury prevention initiatives undertaken to reduce the incidence of injury and harm from family and inter-personal violence.

For more information

Stay in touch and invite others to do the same

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