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People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence

People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence

The recently Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence (DCAFV) is pleased to support the fundamental changes in the way our legal system deals with family violence that the report calls for. We need to do more to support victims, and ensure that people are safe.

The report recommends creating a new Family Violence Court, restoring free pre-court counselling and availability of legal aid that were axed in reforms last year, more victims' advocates, a "resource co-ordinator" to link with alcohol and other treatment programmes, and a new family violence crisis phone line for people who don't want to call the police or Child, Youth and Family. For perpetrators, it proposes both electronic monitoring and dedicated houses for men who have been required by police safety orders to leave home for a few days.

Although these changes are badly needed, everyone in our community has a role to play in family violence prevention. “Family violence exists in our community because we let it exist” spokesperson Dr Rob Thomson said. “It will continue until individuals in our community decide to take personal responsibility for making a change.”

We need to support individuals and families before violence gets so serious that the Police and courts are involved. At present there is only funding for someone to attend a stopping violence programme if there is a Protection Order or they are mandated by a court to attend. Services such as Stopping Violence Dunedin are able to provide free programmes for men and women who want to address their violence. The numbers of self-referrals are increasing; however this places a huge financial strain on the organization. Many of the services in our community are over-stretched and under-resourced, and rely on community support for survival and to help people become violence free. “Family

violence is preventable. People choose to be violent and can choose to change, and there are services and support to make these changes.”

More information on how to help our community be free from family violence can be found on www.familiesfreefromviolence.org.nz


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