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First appointees to family violence committee

21 August 2008 Media Statement

First members appointed to family violence committee

Associate Health Minister Steve Chadwick today announced the appointment of the inaugural members of the Family Violence Death Review Committee.

"I'm pleased to be able to appoint the first members to this Committee, which will contribute to the prevention of family violence and family violence deaths,” Steve Chadwick said.

“Domestic violence of any sort is unacceptable, and New Zealand levels are alarmingly high – almost half of all reported murders each year are family violence related. This is a significant problem for us as a nation, and it is one that we all must address if we are to successfully overcome it.”

The Minister has appointed Wendy Davis (Wellington) as chair of the Committee and Dr Patrick Kelly (Auckland), Dr Alison Towns (Auckland), Ngaroma Grant (Rotorua), Rob Veale (Wellington), Vaoga Mary Watts (Auckland), Brenda Hynes (Wellington) and George Ririnui (Hamilton) as members.

“The Committee is well-balanced, with members having extensive experience and understanding of family violence issues.”

The appointed members have expertise in mortality review systems, social science research, family violence law, child abuse and protection issues, and service provision in the social sector.

“The Committee will look at why family violence deaths occur and identify changes to systems, policies and services that may prevent family violence and related deaths.”

It will identify trends, review circumstances surrounding deaths, conduct specific reviews of clusters/subgroups of family violence deaths and participate in local family violence death reviews.

“Establishing this committee is a significant step towards addressing family violence in New Zealand, and I am looking forward to seeing the Committee’s ideas and solutions.

“Family violence is a problem that affects all parts of our society, and it is an issue that we need all New Zealanders to take responsibility for.”

The Committee's first meeting is scheduled to take place in October.

Background information

In July 2007, the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families agreed to the establishment of an ongoing interagency, multidisciplinary family violence death review system under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.

The Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) was established in June 2008. Its primary function is to review and report on family violence deaths, with a view to informing collective efforts to reduce and prevent family violence deaths in New Zealand.

The Committee's functions include:

- collecting data and information from relevant sources on circumstances leading up to and surrounding family violence deaths
- reviewing the circumstances surrounding family violence deaths, including system and agency practice interventions/processes
- conducting specific reviews/investigations into clusters/subgroups of family violence deaths
- monitoring the number, categories and demographics of family violence deaths
- identifying patterns and trends in family violence deaths over time.


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