Govt launches new family violence workforce capability frameworks

Tue 07 Jun 2022

The new frameworks are designed to support organisations and workers to effectively respond to family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

New family violence workforce capability frameworks

Two new frameworks have been launched:

  • Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards
  • Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Framework.

The frameworks set standards and essential knowledge to support workers and organisations to respond to family violence in safe and effective ways. They both include information to create a shared understanding of the dynamics of family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. They aim to build understanding and to improve the capability of government and non-government organisations and workforces to respond to family violence.

The frameworks are designed for specialist family violence organisations and generalist organisations. A specialist family violence response comes from a highly skilled person with extensive training and experience working with family violence, and who is supported by an organisation with expert knowledge and practice embedded at all levels. Generalist organisations do not have a primary role in addressing family violence, but may have staff who interact with people who have been impacted by violence.

The frameworks have been designed using an indigeneity lens, considering Te Tiriti o Waitangi, te ao Māori, and whānau-centred thinking.

Organisations and workers can start using the frameworks now. Agencies and key stakeholders will be testing these frameworks to build understanding about the best ways to implement them. Government agencies will also be applying the frameworks, starting with Police, Ara Poutama Aoteroa – Corrections, and Justice.

Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards

The Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards are for all organisations who identify as specialist family violence organisations. They are also for generalist organisations with specialist family violence workers.

The Standards are designed to help organisations understand what is expected of them when providing services to people affected by family violence. The standards focus on the quality of the service, scope of practice, and organisational capability to deliver safe and effective services. They are designed for senior leaders, managers, executives and boards to:

  • Reflect, evaluate, review, design and continually improve their organisational structures, systems, processes and practices in safe and effective ways.
  • Promote safe, effective, trauma and violence informed, and victim-survivor and whānau-centred services.

Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Framework

The Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Framework is for specialist family violence and generalist organisations, workforces and practitioners. The Framework sets out the capabilities for people to provide safe and effective services at four different levels of expertise: essential, entry, enhanced and expert. The Framework sets a standard for the skills needed to provide services at each of these levels. It also creates a pathway for people to develop their skills.

The Framework can be used by everyone from frontline staff and volunteers, through to team leaders, managers, executives and board members. Page 43 of the Framework lists the different ways the Framework can be used by practitioners, managers, organisations, government funders, and professional bodies and learning institutes.

Background about the frameworks

The frameworks are part of implementing Shift 3 (Towards skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces) of Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Budget 2022 includes funding for training workforces to build capability, including court-related workforces.

In launching the frameworks, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence and Sexual Violence Marama Davidson said:

“The first time someone reaches out for help may be the only time they have the courage to do so, and they need to be met with a response every time that is safe, and that provides the validation and support needed to start the long-term healing. That’s why building the capability of our workforces is so important.

“The frameworks were developed collaboratively by people who work in the specialist sector including tangata whenua, and representatives of victim-survivors, diverse communities such as disabled people and LGBTQIA+, and government. Taking a whānau- and family-centred approach to prevention, restoration and healing is a key focus."

Te Ao Māori News reported on and shared a video from the launch of the frameworks featuring National Network of Family Violence Services chief executive Merran Lawler, who said:

"There is a lot of upskilling that needs to take place and that requires an investment and a commitment to investing in that upskilling. Ultimately, we'd like to see these documents not as 'nice to haves', but as mandatory requirements for anybody working in the family violence sector."

RNZ reported that Women's Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury said:

"We, in the specialist sector, have been talking for literally years if not decades about the need for a shared understanding of what this family violence thing is; what it looks like, what it smells like what it feels like.

"These frameworks provide that. There is going to be no excuse now for people who say, 'Well, I didn't know what was an appropriate response'. When [the minister says] people can use it, I would say I would go further than that and say they should use it."

And she also said that:

"I would really like to see this starting to feed its way into the legal system with our lawyers and judges and in our medical system, particularly primary health; doctors, nurses, those sorts of people."

The frameworks build on the Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Violence within Whānau: Workforce Capability Framework launched in 2017.

Related news

The Joint Venture has shared 10 analysis papers that reflect community experiences of family violence and sexual violence systems. These papers summarise the feedback gathered from the community engagement process to develop Te Aorerekura. They draw on some existing evidence about prevalence and different dynamics of violence for each group. The papers also identify some opportunities for improving ways to prevent, respond, and heal from violence. The 10 papers address the experiences of:

  • Children and young people
  • Disabled people
  • Ethnic communities
  • Older people and Kaumatua
  • Pacific Peoples
  • People impacted by violence
  • People who use or have used violence
  • Sexual violence and family violence sectors
  • Tangata Whenua

Emma Powell has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Executive Board for the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence. In the announcement Andrew Kibblewhite, Deputy Chair of the Executive Board said "The Joint Venture is now legally an Interdepartmental Executive Board with responsibility to implement the National Strategy. The work is complex and requires an engaged, positive and outgoing executive leader who is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of New Zealanders. I am pleased Emma Powell is taking up this role." For more information see the Joint Venture website.

Toitū te Waiora is asking for feedback through a brief survey on workforce challenges and needs for community, health, education, and social services sectors in Aotearoa. Toitū te Waiora is one of six workforce development councils created as part of the review of vocational education. Toitū tē Waiora represent sectors including care services, youth services, disability services, mental health and addictions services, health services, public order safety, regulatory services, social services, and more. They work with industry and employers to understand the skills that are needed. This information is then passed to education and training providers, to create learning programmes to give people the skills to address future workforce needs.  Learn more from their 1 minute video

The survey runs until 12 June. 

Related media

Tiriti central to family violence prevention, Waatea News, 27.05.2022

Image: Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels

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