Frontline family violence services boosted $76m by Govt

By Talisa Kupenga

The Government has allocated an additional $76.2 million over four years to support Ministry of Social Development funded family violence services. But National says based on the assumption it will be evenly distributed, the funding isn't targeted and won’t be spent where it's needed the most.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the near 30 percent baseline funding increase would be for 150 agencies. Half of them working with refuge operations on the frontline.

The funds will go towards services for victims, perpetrators, and their families.

"Over the following three years we will more than double that annual figure adding a further $15.5m in each of the out-years to enable these services to fill in the areas where there currently is no support."

National Social Development Spokesperson Louise Upston says “any new investment in family violence is great news so it's good to see the government is building on our record of supporting the really important work of frontline staff in family violence.”

National says the Government is unclear where funds would go to and if distributed evenly among providers it could mean money won't be spent where it's needed most.

"We will want to make sure that the government has a method for measuring the impact of that spend. We want to make sure that the people who need it most are getting the support that they need," Upston says.

But organisations like The Salvation Army welcomed the funds saying they were critically underfunded for nearly a decade.

Upston disagrees with the criticism "the $169million that our government invested in 2016 I think really speaks to the commitment that our government made."

The Prime Minister says "we need to make sure that frontline services like Women's Refuge are funded to do their job and in the last ten years they haven't been."

It's Not OK! estimates the annual cost of family violence to be between $4.1 and $7 billion each year.