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ANZASW on funding to tackle family and sexual violence

The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) strongly welcomes the government’s pledge to increase funding to tackle family and sexual violence.

The government estimates that around a million people including 300,000 children / tamariki and young people / rangatahi are affected by family and sexual violence every year. We believe that by increasing the much-needed financial support for services that engage with survivors and family / whanau / aiga / fâmili / kâinga at risk, the government
is taking steps toward acknowledging the seriousness of this long-standing problem in our society.

ANZASW Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said “this funding increase as part of the upcoming budget will be applauded by social workers, who know only too well how devastating the impact of family and sexual violence can be.”

“We appreciate the investment in preventive initiatives, changes to the justice system and frontline services, which have not been adequately funded to meet demand for some time,” she added.

“The Association wants to take this opportunity also to acknowledge social workers who provide dedicated support, making use of their professional expertise across a range of specialist areas, to assist families / whanau / aiga / fâmili / kâinga and individuals threatened by or experiencing violence of this kind,” she continued.

“We stress that halting or preventing family and sexual violence is everybody’s business- not just the responsibility of social workers or government agencies- and we call on communities everywhere to not be afraid to take action if you have concern that someone they know is at risk or experiencing abuse,” Sandford-Reed also noted.

The Association endorses the statements of Ann Jury, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge New Zealand, who noted that while “there’s a lot more that needs to happen,” the investment marks an important step toward more fully engaging with a huge social challenge that has been neglected for far too long.

An ANZASW member who works with survivors of sexual and family violence said: “It is heartening to hear of the Government’s commitment to investing in the sector and although it is far reaching, there is still a group of people who slip through the gap.”

These include “the people who come here as partners of those seeking to work and live in NZ. If you come here to NZ as a dependent on someone else’s primary work visa, you are not afforded the same rights and protections as those who have residency or citizenship when it comes to family and sexual violence. If, once in this country the primary visa holder becomes violent towards their partners and/or children, it is extremely difficult for the partner to access support without fear of jeopardising their status in this country,” the member noted.

“If we choose to allow these families in to NZ, we should at the very least, afford them the same protections,” they added

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