Family violence & sexual violence work programme

Family violence and sexual violence is unacceptable. However, New Zealand has amongst the highest reported rates of family violence and sexual violence in the developed world. 

Responsibility for addressing family violence and sexual violence is currently distributed across at least 10 government agencies. A cross-government joint venture is developing new ways of working across government, and with iwi and communities, to reduce family violence and sexual violence through an integrated response.

This will help ensure victims and families get help tailored to their needs, and perpetrators are held to account and supported to change their behaviour. 

Main initiatives

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence) is the Lead Minister for the whole-of-government response to family violence and sexual violence. This work is supported by a Ministerial group comprising Justice, Social Development, Children, Māori Development and Senior ministers. 

New Zealand needs an integrated and effective system for addressing these forms of violence that is joined up, aligned and makes a difference. An effective system requires a workforce in which everyone knows their role and feels competent and resourced to take action.  

Key projects include:

  • Creating a new way of working for government agencies through a joint venture of chief executives, providing a single point of accountability and leadership. Find out more about the joint venture [PDF, 327 KB]

  • Ensuring partnership with Māori and communities through an interim Te Rōpū and wider stakeholders, to put the needs and priorities of victims and perpetrators, along with their families, at the heart of all decisions and services

  • Designing a national strategy and action plan to prevent and reduce family violence and sexual violence
  • Providing a modern and enabling legislative framework to effectively address family violence.  The public was consulted in 2015 as part of the review of the family violence legislation and a Bill was introduced to Parliament in 2017.  The Family Violence Act and the Family Violence (Amendments) Act were passed into law in November 2018
  • Investing additional resources (external link)into frontline services.
  • 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(external link)
    Read the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu) evaluation of the pilot.(external link)
  • 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.
    Find out about the Risk Assessment and Management Framework
  • Promoting a Workforce Capability Framework, which identifies consistent core competencies that members of the family violence and sexual violence workforce need to effectively deliver services.
    Find out about the Workforce Capability Framework.
  • 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.
  • Developing specialist services to better support victims and prevent sexual violence.  This focuses on developing sexual violence crisis support services (including a national sexual violence helpline accessible by phone and online), harmful sexual behaviour services for non-mandated  adults (that is, people who haven't been directed by a court to attend a treatment programme or be assessed) and services for male survivors of sexual abuse.
    Find out about this work(external link).

To read or sign up to receive updates about the work programme, go to:

Family and sexual violence work programme updates

Proactive Releases:

Aide Memoire:

Breaking the inter-generational cycle of family violence and sexual violence [PDF, 630 KB]

Aide Memoire:

Leadership of Government's collective efforts to reduce family violence and sexual violence [PDF, 6.2 MB]

Cabinet Paper:

Breaking the inter-generational cycle of family violence and sexual violence [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Cabinet Paper:

Leadership of Government's collective efforts to reduce family violence and sexual violence [PDF, 453 KB]

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