About this timeline

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The Clearinghouse has compiled this timeline to document progress and setbacks on the journey towards the prevention and elimination of family, whānau and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Developments it highlights include key milestones of national or international significance, high quality research with policy and/or practice implications and the seeding of new initiatives. For specific population groups, some events are drawn from a wider range of sources.

The contributions made by community initiatives and non-government organisations (NGOs), government and its agencies, New Zealand research and international developments are highlighted by categorising milestones under four main headings. The icons and main headings used are:

image-hands-community Community & NGOs

imge-beehive-government Government & government agencies - legislation, strategies and actions

image-chart-research Research, and

image-globe-international International 

Milestones which are relevant to particular population groups are highlighted using one or more small icons. Legislation and initiatives specifically addressing sexual violence are identified in the same way. The icons (with active links) appear at the end of an item. The small icons and headings used are:

image-koru Māori

image-hibiscus-pasifika Pasifika

image-jasmine-ethnic Ethnic communities 

image-wheelchair-disabled Disabled people

image-rainbow-LGBTIQ LGBTIQ

image-rose-older-people Older people

image-purple-sexual-violence Sexual violence

image-statutes Legislation

How to use the timeline

The timeline is published as a series of pages by decades (and the pre-1970s period), with the most recent year appearing at the top of each page (reverse chronological order).

Use the decade links at the top or bottom of the page to select the period of interest, and to move around the timeline.

To find out more about a milestone or to access current legislation or research publications, click on the item links.

A list of all items in any category can be created by clicking on the large or small icons.

Maintaining the timeline

No timeline of this type can claim to be comprehensive, and decisions about the relevance or omission of a milestone always need to be made. We would welcome your feedback. We are happy to receive suggestions for additional items. The final decision as to whether they are included will be made by the Clearinghouse. This timeline is intended to be a living resource. Amendments may be made where necessary. The timeline will be updated regularly.


The main sources for this information are the timelines published in Beyond Zero Tolerance (Fanslow, 2005) and Learning our way forward (Herbert, 2008). The original sources are documented in those publications. Additional sources include published histories, in particular Social developments (Garlick, 2012), NGO websites, Te Rito News and news items posted on the Clearinghouse website since 2004. Details of major sources are listed below.  


Carswell, S. (2006). Family violence and the pro-arrest policy: a literature review. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.

Fanslow, J. L. (2005). Beyond zero tolerance: Key issues and future directions for family violence work in New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: Families Commission.

Family and Community Services (n.d.). Te Rito News (published July 2005 – August 2010). Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Social Development.

Garlick, T. (2012). Social developments: An organisational history of the Ministry of Social Development and its predecessors, 1860 – 2011. Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts Aotearoa.

Herbert, R. (2008). Learning our way forward: Implementation of New Zealand's family violence strategies. (Unpublished master's dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington.

Rape Prevention Education (n.d.). Herstory/History. Auckland, New Zealand: Rape Prevention Education.

Watt, E. (2003). A History of youth justice in New Zealand. Research  paper commissioned by the Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft, 2003)

Women’s Refuge (2015). Our story. Wellington, New Zealand: Women’s Refuge.

Wood, B., Hassall, I. B., Hook, G., Ludbrook, R. (2008). Unreasonable force: New Zealand’s journey towards banning the physical punishment of children.  Wellington, New Zealand: Save the Children New Zealand.