A commitment to improving community and government responses to victims of family violence and sexual violence is driving changes to the way government organises itself.
For the first time, chief executives from across the public service will be taking collective responsibility to end family violence and sexual violence in New Zealand.
This new way of working will bring them together in a Joint Venture to deliver an integrated, whole-of-government approach to family violence and sexual violence. This will create a single point of accountability and leadership, as recommended by the sector and experts such as the Law Commission and the Family Violence Death Review Committee.
Integrated practice can help to ensure the immediate safety of victims and children, hold perpetrators to account, and provide sustained, coordinated and comprehensive services to everyone affected by violence, to support their long-term recovery.
Government Ministers recognise that addressing family violence and sexual violence is our best opportunity to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders, making this work central to achieving a range of government objectives.
Jan Logie, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues), announced the change to the way government organises its work on family violence and sexual violence.
“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,” she said.
New Zealand has unacceptable rates of family violence and sexual violence, which severely undermine the lifetime wellbeing of victims and their children. Every year, around 1 million New Zealanders are directly affected by family violence and sexual violence, including more than 250,000 children. About 30 deaths a year – more than half of all homicides – are the result of family violence. One in 10 older people experience abuse or neglect from a family member or carer.
The Joint Venture will include a Māori advisory group, Te Rōpū, and an external stakeholder advisory group to ensure the government works in partnership with the sector and learns 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.
In support of the Joint Venture, and the implementation of the Family Violence Bill, the Ministry of Justice is continuing to work with government and community partners to identify the opportunities for improved integration, in the interests of victims and their children.
Agencies involved in the Joint Venture are the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Oranga Tamariki, Health, Te Puni Kōkiri, Social Development, Education, Justice, Police, ACC and Corrections.