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Family violence work continues

14 September 2006

Family violence work continues

The government's work to eliminate family violence from all New Zealand communities was carrying on and would not be affected by National's decision not to contribute to the multi-party group, Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

"Work to eliminate family violence is led by the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families," Mr Benson-Pope said. "The Taskforce and the multi-party group are two quite separate entities.

"The Taskforce has no political representation, but is made up of Chief Executives and Commissioners from across the government and non-government sectors. It has a mandate to lead government work to eliminate family violence, and is achieving that mandate very well.

"The multi-party group is made up of MPs from Labour, the Greens, the Maori Party, United Future, the Progressive Party, New Zealand First, ACT and – until last night – National. Its mandate is to put politics to one side and openly share ideas about how we can address the crucial issue of family violence.

"Members of the multi-party group have all been invited to give their feedback on the Taskforce's programme of action, and on other government work, but National has provided no feedback or positive contribution at any time. Other parties have," Mr Benson-Pope said.

Mr Benson-Pope said that just six weeks after the Taskforce released its report and action programme, work towards its priorities is well underway.

- Police, Courts, and Child Youth and Family are working together to improve how they keep victims and their families safe, and ensure they get the support they need.

- Work has begun on the establishment of dedicated Family Violence Courts in Wellington and Auckland.

- Work is underway to improve victims' access to protection orders, and take effective action against offenders who don't attend court-ordered therapeutic courses.

- Community groups in six regions are getting media advocacy training to help them raise the profile of family violence in their communities. This is the beginning of a long-term, community-based campaign to change social attitudes towards family violence, funded by $11.5 million from government and $2.5 million from the Families Commission.

- Research is underway to identify a better process for reviewing family violence-related deaths. The Ministry of Health is leading the development of a new process, which will be developed by June 2007.

- Police and CYF are establishing a scheme to better support children affected by family violence. It will involve regular reviews between Police, CYF and community agencies of how they're managing and co-ordinating their responses.

- Work is continuing to improve funding and contracting for non-government organisations, and to identify the true cost of providing family violence and support services. This follows the government’s investment of an additional $9 million over the next four years in family violence prevention and crisis response services.

Mr Benson-Pope said that the Taskforce was a unique collaboration of New Zealanders who were all committed to getting on with the job. "I want New Zealanders to be certain that work to eliminate family violence and support strong families is continuing," he said.


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