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Social Services Committee releases report into sexual violence service funding

December 18, 2015 at 9:03 AM

Social Services Committee releases report into sexual violence service funding

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The Social Services Select Committee has released its report into the funding of specialist sexual violence services.

The Committee's terms of reference were to inquire (1) whether the state of services reflects an integrated approach to service delivery, full coverage, and best practice and (2) to inquire whether services are accessible, culturally appropriate, and sustainable.

The report, Inquiry into the funding of specialist sexual violence social services, states: 

"Broadly speaking, the inquiry process confirmed that current services do not provide consistent, effective cover and that current funding approaches are insufficient. Stable and effective services would significantly reduce the costs of sexual violence - both to society and to individuals.

We urge the Government to commit to ensuring that sustainable, efficient specialist sexual violence social services are available to everyone in New Zealand. We urge the Government to develop and implement a long-term approach to do this. This should include

  • a model or models for governance that reflect the New Zealand context and Māori and non-Māori good practices
  • funding
  • the design and delivery of services across the continuum of intervention: prevention, first response, long-term care and recovery, and HSB services." 

The Committee makes a total of 32 recommendations. These include:

  • That it develop an overarching policy framework for an integrated whole-of-system approach to preventing and responding to sexual violence, including a whole-of-Government statement of intent.
  • That it nominate a lead agency and establish an interagency organisation to lead and coordinate the Government’s response to sexual violence.
  • That it enable Māori to fully participate in policy development and planning processes, and that kaupapa and tikanga principles be integrated into these processes.
  • That it develop a national violence prevention framework and action plan that would include sexual violence prevention as a major feature.
  • That the Government draw from the Victorian funding and service delivery model in co-designing an integrated model for New Zealand, modified to meet New Zealand’s unique environment, including an acknowledgement of Māori needs. That services for those with concerning or harmful sexual behaviour be considered in a New Zealand integrated model.
  • That the Government assess whether changes should be made to the remuneration and working conditions of workers in the sexual violence sector, including
    - access to professional development
    - access to support such as clinical supervision
    - whether there are enough staff to prevent “compassion fatigue”. 
  • That it assess whether professional accreditation standards and regulations that include kaupapa Māori and other culturally competent practice should be developed and introduced for workers in the specialist sexual violence social services sector.
  • That, as part of a new model for specialist sexual violence social services, it ensure that services are accessible to all clients, including those with disabilities, and are whānau centred, culturally competent, and responsive. 

The Select Committee's Inquiry was initiated by Green MP Jan Logie. It began on 21 August 2013. The committee received submissions from 997 organisations and individuals and heard oral evidence from 87 submitters in 2014. At the conclusion of the 50th Parliament due to the 2014 election, the Social Services Committee made an interim report on its inquiry. The inquiry was reinstated on 29 October 2014.

The Committee expects that officials' group working under the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence could take up their recommendations and incorporate them into their work programme.

On 25 November 2015, ActionStation members delivered a petition to parliament calling on the government to fully fund sexual violence support services. This followed comments made by Prime Minister John Key in Parliament and disclosures by several woman MPs that they are survivors of sexual violence.  

For other recent recommendations relating to sexual violence, see the Law Commission's report on justice response to victims of sexual violence (December 2015).