Family violence more endemic than Covid; new coordinated approach

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Family Violence Protection Minister Marama Davidson says that the first time someone suffering from family violence reaches out for help may be the only time they do so. 

But new workforce frameworks launched today will make an important difference to people impacted by family violence by strengthening responses to those people and ensuring services support their safety, long-term healing and wellbeing.

“People have long been asking for workforces capable of providing safe, consistent, and effective responses to family violence, in ways that meet their specific needs.” 

“The frameworks set benchmarks for organisations and detail the capabilities required of specialist and general workforces so everyone experiencing family violence gets the appropriate support when they reach out for help,” she said.

Ang Jury from the National Collective of Independent Refuges says the frameworks announced today shouldn’t be an option for organisations to adopt but should be mandatory.

“Family violence is something that we've got in our communities. It's more endemic than Covid. It has taken many generations to get to where it is now. It is not unreasonable to expect that it's going to take that generation to start shifting things.”

'Test and learn' approach

The Independent Women’s Refuges and Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – the National Network of Family Violence Services, will lead a ‘test and learn’ approach to the frameworks, developing tools and shared understanding. Government agencies will also be applying the frameworks, starting with Police, Ara Poutama Aotearoa – Corrections, and Justice.

“The frameworks will support specialist family violence organisations to enhance the work they’re already doing, while also helping generalist organisations develop their understanding of what’s required to provide the best support possible for those affected by family violence,” Davidson says.

One in three women experience some form of harm but the statistics also show that while  90% of people know of the services available, only 23% end up reaching out for help.

National Network of Family Violence spokesperson Merran Lawler says everyone has their part to play.

“While family violence is everybody's business, it's not everybody's job to actually engage in the work that requires a specialist.”

“A recognition from the government of a lot of upskilling that needs to take place and that requires investment and a commitment to investing. We'd like to see these documents as not 'nice to haves' but as mandatory” she said