Update on Ministerial Group on Family and Sexual Violence work programme

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Updated information on the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme is available on the Ministry of Justice website, including a Cabinet paper from April 2016.

The cross-government work programme is “currently focused on striking a balance between two key needs: acting now to invest in services that have a good chance of making a difference, and taking time to build evidence about what works.”

It says the four priority projects of the work programme, which is jointly led by the Ministers of Justice and Social Development, are:

  • “Piloting an integrated safety response model, which sees government and community services working together more closely to ensure families experiencing violence get the help they need. This includes new services and support for high-risk victims and to help perpetrators change their ways. Find out about the integrated safety response pilot on the Police website
  • Creating a common risk assessment and management framework that people who work in the family violence sector can use to determine the risks victims face and the threats perpetrators pose. This will help to keep people safe by identifying family violence earlier, and preventing it from reoccurring and becoming more serious.
  • Implementing a workforce development project, which will identify and put in place ‘best practice’ core competencies that members of the family violence and sexual violence workforce need to effectively deliver services.
  • Appointing agencies to lead coordination of primary prevention and perpetrator programmes, which will help coordinate services and investment decisions in these areas. The leads are the Ministry of Social Development for family violence primary prevention; Accident Compensation Corporation for sexual violence primary prevention; and the Department of Corrections for programmes for adult family violence perpetrators.

These projects will be supported by:

  • a cross-agency research and evaluation programme, led by Superu, to inform us about what is effective, for whom, why, and how well changes are working.
  • a review of family violence legislation to ensure it protects victims and holds offenders to account. The public was consulted in 2015 as part of the review. The Minister of Justice expects to introduce a Bill later in 2016.”

The Cabinet paper provides more detail on these initiatives and work to date.

It states that approximately   $1.4   billion   of   the   Government’s   annual   budget   is  attributable  to  core  and  specialist  service  responses  to  family  violence  or  sexual  violence.

The paper says the Government aspires to “take an investment approach similar to that taken in the context of welfare entitlements.” However “While the portfolio analysis and other work has provided a broad foundation of  knowledge about the distribution and the effectiveness of  our  current investment, we are not yet at the point of being able to take that kind of approach. The scale of unreported violence, inconsistent assessment of risk and need for those who do report, and inadequate information about the distribution and effectiveness of our current interventions prevents us doing so. The Ministerial Group work programme is designed to overcome some of these difficulties.”

The paper states "Consistent with the principles of social investment, we have sought evidence to inform further intervention or re-allocation of current interventions, and are developing an investment case specific to this area.

... While we want to ensure that all Government expenditure in this area is as effective as possible, we do not consider that substantial divestment and re-allocation is appropriate at this time. Primary prevention is one area where we can move more quickly as it is an arguably more straightforward area because it is less inter-connected than other parts of the sector. We have set up mechanisms to enable divestment and realignment in primary prevention programmes that are not aligned with evidence of what works. Realignment of investment will be guided by a primary prevention framework to guide funding towards more effective programmes.

In areas of larger discretionary investment such as stopping violence programmes and victim safety services, whilst the evidence on specific services is unclear, we do know from international evidence that better support for both victims and perpetrators is essential."

As part of the review of family violence legislation, the Minister of Justice is considering how legislation could support the Ministerial Group work programme, including implementation of the risk framework and the workforce competencies.

The section “Engagement  with  the  non-government  sector  on  family  violence  and  sexual  violence work programme” is largely redacted.

The paper recommends that  Cabinet  invite  the  Ministerial Group to report back in February 2017 on progress of the work and any proposed investments for Budget 2017.

For further information, see the Ministry of Justice website and the Cabinet paper (April 2016).

Background information

See these previous New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse news stories on recent Government activity on family and sexual violence:

Government announces new multi-agency family violence pilot in Christchurch (April 2016)

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

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

"Investment Approach" to Justice outlined - family violence (May 2016)

Law Commission recommends law change for victims who commit homicide (May 2016)

Law Commission recommends making non-fatal strangulation a specific crime (March 2016)

Review of family violence laws: Government discussion document released (August 2015)

Ministerial group launches new family violence work programme (July 2015)
(This includes government's 'portfolio analysis' of government’s annual spend)