New government "joint venture" approach to addressing family and sexual violence

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The Government has announced a new "joint venture" approach to addressing family and sexual violence. The joint venture’s role is to "lead, integrate, and provide support for everyone to ensure an effective whole-of-government response to family violence and sexual violence."

The announcement on the Beehive website (including a Q&A) and a special edition email update from the Government’s cross-agency family violence and sexual violence work programme (28 September 2018) provide the information below.

An early action will be to develop an ambitious national strategy and action plan. This will set a clear direction for our collective commitment to reduce family violence and sexual violence, clarifying the most critical strategic objectives and identifying the actions required across the system.

The joint venture will lead the preparation of a single, whole-of-government package for Budget 2019 to align and prioritise resources to reduce family violence and sexual violence. 

The joint venture will also lead the preparation of a collective annual report across all agencies to create a collective account of performance towards shared outcomes and a single point of accountability to Parliament and the public.

The joint venture’s work will be done by a business unit reporting to the chief executives on the Social Wellbeing Board: the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Oranga Tamariki, Health, Te Puni Kōkiri, Social Development, Education, Justice, with the addition of Police, ACC and Corrections.

The joint venture will be informed by an independent Māori body (Te Rōpū) and wider external advisory group to support the government to work in partnership with the sector and to learn from the experience of victims, perpetrators, and children affected by violence. Building Māori partnership into the model, and ensuring those affected by violence are integral to our work, will help drive significant improvements in the system. 

The joint venture will also work with existing advisory groups, reference groups, boards and panels to ensure wider stakeholder input. This will include groups such as Rainbow, disability, the E Tu Whānau reference group, and Pasefika Proud. 

The Social Wellbeing Board Chief Executives are operating as the joint venture now.

The Multi-Agency Team on Family Violence and Sexual Violence is transitioning to the business unit supporting the joint venture, with an acting Director. There will be a new identity for the business unit and a formal launch will take place before the end of the year.

The Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Jan Logie, will be the Lead Minister for Family Violence and Sexual Violence, responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the work programme for the joint venture.

The Lead Minister will be supported by a Ministerial group comprising the Minister of Justice, the Minister for Social Development, the Minister for Children, the Minister for Seniors, and the Minister for Māori Development. 

The Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee will have overall ministerial oversight of the joint venture, reflecting that the impacts of family violence and sexual violence sit across government.

Te Rōpū

An interim Te Rōpū is being established to work in partnership with the Crown, Ministers, and the joint venture to help develop and shape initial work on a national strategy to prevent and reduce family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau.

The interim Te Rōpū will be appointed by the Minister of Māori Development and the Lead Minister in consultation with the Minister of Māori/Crown Relations. It will comprise up to ten members who bring appropriate skills and expertise and who can reflect communities, rangatahi and whānau, urban and regional Māori and wāhine Māori. The group will help inform the terms of reference of the permanent Te Rōpū, with advice due by April 2019.

Nominations to the interim Te Rōpū will be moving quickly. If you’d like to nominate somebody for the pool of potential appointees or want to know more about the Te Rōpū, please contact: Kim.Aiomanu@justice.govt.nz.

National strategy and action plan

A draft strategy and action plan will be developed before the end of the year, through a design process that will involve victims, perpetrators and community experts.

The interim Te Rōpū and a range of Māori experts will be invited to provide early advice on the design and development of the strategy. The Māori experts and wider stakeholder advisory groups will also have important roles in preparing the strategy, prioritising actions, informing effective responses, and holding government to account.

The strategy and action plan will also draw on the information communities have provided to government during past consultations on family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau. 

The draft strategy will be refined and developed through a formal consultation process early in 2019. New Zealanders will be invited to contribute their ideas and aspirations.

This work will be cross-referenced with the development of the Child Wellbeing Strategy.

Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) Jan Logie made the announcement about the joint venture at the annual conference of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in Gisborne. Jan Logie said: “Everyone should be able to live free from violence, but too often people don’t know where to go for help, or don’t have the right kind of help available to them. As a society, we have tragically failed to provide sustainable support or put resources into preventing family and sexual violence from happening in the first place. We have to stop splitting this issue up into half a dozen unconnected silos. Family and sexual violence are complicated, affect every part of our community and demand a coordinated, committed response.”

Sector organisations are invited to stay in touch with the joint venture business unit via the current Multi-Agency Team email, until the new identity is confirmed: familyandsexualviolence@justice.govt.nz

You can sign up to receive the email updates direct to your inbox by emailing the Multi-Agency Team. The updates are also posted on the Ministry of Justice website.

Sector responses to the announcement about the joint venture are in the media articles listed below.

Related news

The Government is currently consulting on reforms to the state sector. Submissions are open until 12 October 2018.

The Q&A on the recently announced family and sexual violence joint venture states:

"Government has placed a strong emphasis on cross-agency and cross-portfolio actions to improve wellbeing.  The joint venture uses existing powers, and an explicit Cabinet mandate, to work in new ways across government.

Proposed changes to the State Sector Act 1988, as recently agreed for consultation by Cabinet, would formalise this type of arrangement, allowing for a group of chief executives to collectively own and govern a formal joint venture. The joint venture approach offers the potential to transform the way government operates through new ways of working collectively on complex issues that extend beyond single agencies.

Currently, the government is focused on ensuring the success of the joint venture that will lead efforts to reduce family violence and sexual violence. It is likely that this joint venture approach will also be adopted in other policy areas."

Selected media

Integrated plan to tackle family violence, Waatea News, 01.10.2018

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network on Govt move, Press Release: Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, Scoop, 29.09.2018

Mixed reaction to new cross-Government family and sexual violence prevention plan, Newshub, 29.09.2018

Govt's announcement not meaningful without survivor participation - Backbone Collective, Voxy, 28.09.2018

Media statement from TOAH-NNEST, Press Release: Toah-Nnest, Scoop, 28.09.2018

Shine delighted with new Government joint venture, Press Release: Shine, Scoop, 28.09.2018

National Council of Women wholeheartedly supports venture, Press Release: National Council of Women, Scoop, 28.09.2018

FVDRC welcomes new approach to family violence, Press Release: Family Violence Death Review Committee, Scoop, 28.09.2018

Those at coalface welcome Govt's collective approach to tackle domestic and sexual violence, TVNZ, 28.09.2018

Doing things differently to end family and sexual violence, Speech from Jan Logie Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues), Beehive, 28.09.2018 

Women's Refuge welcomes joint venture to tackle violence, Scoop, 28.09.2018

Frontline services excited by Government addressing violence, Press Release: National Network of Stopping Violence Services, Scoop, 28.09.2018

A new strategy to combat family and sexual violence, Māori TV, 28.09.2018

Govt announces joint venture of 10 agencies to be held accountable for NZ's appalling family and sexual violence, NZ Herald, 28.09.2018

Govt outlines new plan to fight family and sexual violence: 'They're not getting that help', Radio NZ, 28.09.2018

Cross-Government plan to prevent family and sexual violence announced, Newshub, 28.09.2018