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Government axes family violence initiatives

15 December 2009
Media Statement

Government axes family violence initiatives

The Government today appeared to confirm it is axing two widely heralded family violence initiatives, which is a pretty tragic Christmas present for those working to reduce violence in our homes, says Labour Social Development spokesperson Annette King.

“Social Development Minister Paula Bennett confirmed that funding set aside last year for Independent Victim Advocates in all Family Courts has been canned.

“This is a terrible, backwards step. The Chief Family Court Judge Peter Boshier has repeatedly stressed the importance of such advocates in these courts, labelling them ‘vital ingredients’.

“The advocate positions were created in response to research identifying they would help improve the effectiveness of domestic violence protection orders. They would provide support and assistance to victims of domestic violence and help to reduce their chances of re-victimisation,” says Annette King.

“Paula Bennett also appeared to confirm that the Government is to axe funding for the hugely successful “It’s Not OK” family violence campaign.

“This too is a tragedy. Figures highlighted by the Families Commission in April this year show the campaign has been one of the most successful ever mounted in New Zealand.

“They showed that a recent survey found that 99 per cent of Maori, and 90 per cent of Pacific Peoples recalled the campaign, and the overall retention rate was 90 per cent. This was a great result.

“The research also showed there has been increased reporting of family violence as a result, which also shows the impact of the campaign, designed to tackle one of our most serious social issues,” Annette King says.

“What on Earth is this Government up to? We’re heading into Christmas, where incidents of family violence typically increase significantly and this is the Government’s response?”

ENDS

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