The Glenn Inquiry has released its final report proposing initiatives and reforms required for a better system to address family violence in New Zealand.
The People's Blueprint recommends transforming:
- "The system by treating it as a whole.
- The culture through a national prevention campaign and alcohol reform.
- Leadership by taking a sustainable investment approach, establishing a stand-alone operational agency, upskilling the workforce, developing an evaluation programme and resting overall responsibility at the peak of government.
- Services with a national intervention programme, a new 'One Family: One Judge' Family Violence Court, long-term counselling and equitable responses for the high-risk and vulnerable."
This would be achieved through the establishment of a framework to support a high-performing system. The framework would support the system in an integrated way across national, regional and local or programme levels. Set by a cross-party national strategy and policies, the framework would guide and coordinate the system to address weaknesses and build on existing strengths. The essential elements of the framework - commitment, knowledge, resourcing, coordination and actions - would drive the policies and action.
The whole approach would be governed by a new stand-alone, operational agency responsible for coordinating and monitoring operations, as well as enacting a code of rights and an advocacy system for victims of family violence. Operations would be carried out by a "skilled and compassionate workforce", which "understands the complexities of family violence and will do no more harm."
A key recommendation of The People's Report is the establishment of a "One Family: One Judge" Family Violence Court System for dealing with all family violence matters, both civil and criminal. The "integrated treatment court" would be led by a judge using an inquisitorial approach which "neutralises the advantage that a well-funded party has over a respondent with scant resources, including the ability to drag out court processes to frustrate or 'burn off' the other party." The report proposed to restore many of the family court initiatives cut in the recent family court reforms, such as wider legal aid eligibility, free pre-court counselling and victim's advocates.
Dame Catherine Tizard, Glenn Inquiry Patron, says "It [the People's Report] isn’t by any means a call for a Year Zero approach – trashing everything we've already tried and starting again with a blank slate. Instead, it provides a detailed outline of what an integrated programme designed to break the cycle of family violence could look like. It reinforces our belief that a solution is achievable. It is a call to action."
Justice Minister Amy Adams responded to the People's Report saying "There are number of initiatives in place across Government to deal with the scourge of family violence in our communities, many of which address the issues raised in this report ... The Ministerial working group is taking a broad look at how the Government is working on family violence, how effective those interventions are, and what more can be done." Officials are due to report back to Ministers in February 2015.
Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue said "Many of the recommendations such as a whole system approach, a national strategy, collection of accurate data and evaluation of programmes, capacity building and training of the workforce are what the government agreed to when it was examined by the Human Rights Council earlier this year."
Women's Refuge supported the idea of a specialist court and monitoring agency. Chief Executive Heather Henare said "We desperately need that right now. We can't hold people accountable in the current environment and our current system. We can't get relevant data. We do need systems in place that hold all of our agencies responsible, because the system is currently failing women and children."
The Glenn Inquiry has previously published:
- What Works? Changing Behaviour to Stop the Violence (November 2014) which asks "what works" in achieving lasting attitude and behavioural change by people who used violence.
- Economic Costs of Child Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence (November 2014) which develops indicative estimates of the economic costs (financial and non-financial) of child abuse and intimate partner violence to New Zealand.
- Interventions that Work (September 2014) which develops a framework for selecting interventions in reducing violent behaviour.
- An Ideal System for Addressing Child Abuse and Domestic Violence (August 2014) which proposes a transformed system for addressing abuse and violence.
- Stories of Change (July 2014) in which people and organisations tell their stories of developing healthier, life-affirming futures for themselves and others following experiences of childhood sexual abuse and/or domestic violence.
- The People's Report (June 2014) which documents the experiences of people directly affected by child abuse, domestic violence and those who work at the frontline.
Submitted on Mon, 2014-12-15 10:34