New Government funding for family violence services

Image: Pexels

The Government has announced additional funding for family violence services for the first time in 10 years.

The additional $76.157 million will be spread over four years. It will primarily go to direct family violence service providers funded by the Ministry of Social Development. Of this, $72.497 million will be split between 'Stabilising current services' and 'Filling gaps in service delivery.' The remaining $3.660 million will go towards 'Funding for service development, co-design and evaluation.'

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni at a breakfast hosted by the Salvation Army.

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) website provides more detailed information about the funding allocation on stabilising current services:

"In each of 2018/19 and 2019/20, MSD will invest an additional $6.590 million to increase funding for family violence service providers that currently have contracts with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to provide direct family violence services.

Services that most directly respond to the needs of victims, perpetrators and their families will get extra funding in 2018/19 and 2019/20. These are:

    • Family and whānau services, including longer-term recovery, counselling and safety planning
    • Programmes for self-referred, non-mandated perpetrators of family violence
    • Immediate crisis response and support services for victims of family violence (and their children, where present), and
    • Longer-term psychological recovery services for victims."

The additional funding will be applied to contracts from 1 July 2018.

Currently MSD-funded services that will not receive increased funding include helplines, elder abuse services, family violence networks, capability building work and prevention programmes.

In 2019/20, $15.379 million will be used for Filling gaps in service delivery. The allocation of this funding will be informed by the development of a new Family Violence Funding Strategy. MSD has begun working on developing the new strategy with the sector. For more information about this work, see MSD's frequently asked questions. You can also find out how providers can get involved or contact Family_Violence_CPP@msd.govt.nz.

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said:

“Nearly half of those receiving the increase are women’s refuges who provide vital support keeping women and children safe. The 30 percent increase in funding is critical to the Government’s efforts to begin to turn around New Zealand’s tragic family violence record. Additional funding in 2019/20 will enable these critical front line agencies to expand into areas where there isn’t currently any support or start addressing over demand in existing services."

Women's Refuge was "ecstatic" and "relieved" with the news, saying:

“We are immensely relieved that this government is financially committed to addressing the chronic underfunding of these critical services to vulnerable women and children.”

Women's Refuge also said:

“Our baseline funding has remained static for the last nine years, and while the previous government has made significant progress in the justice area, particularly for victims of family violence, we are pleased to see this government adequately funding the vital services we provide around the clock to families around Aotearoa.”

Other non-government organisations (NGOs) that provide family violence services have also welcomed the news. Services such as Shakti, Barnardos, the Salvation Army and Rotorua Family Focus made comments including that without increased funding they have struggled to meet demand, been on the verge of closing and have had to reduce services and staff.

The announcement comes ahead of the release of the Government's full 2018 Budget details to be announced on 17 May 2018.

Background information

In 2016, Jan Logie, now Parliamentary Undersecretary Justice (Sexual and Domestic Violence Issues) shared results of a survey she carried out of women's refuges. That survey found that "... of the 20 organisations, more than half have been forced to cut services and/or staff in the past 6 years due to a lack of funding. Nearly all said that there are needs now in their communities that they can't respond to."

See our past stories about funding of family violence, sexual violence for more information about previous government funding for family violence:

Lead up to Budget 2016 - Govt announces funding cuts, increases and reprioritising, May 2016

2016 Budget: No new family violence money, Family Violence Networks refunded, May 2016

ComVoices 2016 State of the Sector Survey finds community organisations struggling, November 2016

Additional Government funding for police, courts and corrections, February 2017

Budget 2017 - Family violence funding focused on continuing pilots, May 2017

Selected media

Budget: Tauranga social services pleased with $76m funding boost, NZ Herald, 17.05.2018

Funding increase excludes many front-line services, Press Release: National Network of Stopping Violence Services, Scoop, 15.05.2018

Frontline domestic violence services get first boost in 10 years, Stuff, 09.05.2018

Frontline family violence services boosted $76m by Govt, Māori Television, 09.05.2018

Additional $76mil for social services announced, Māori Television, 09.05.2018

Untargeted spend achieves headlines but little else, Press Release: New Zealand National Party, Scoop, 09.05.2018