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Necessity of Collaboration to Address Family Violence


Report Reinforces Necessity of Collaboration to Address Family Violence

The latest report from the Family Violence Death Review Committee has got it right in highlighting the need to work more proactively with men who use violence, and urging agencies to work in a more integrated fashion says local family violence agency Aviva.

Expecting an end to violence by working predominantly with only the person experiencing it is never going to fundamentally change the family violence landscape believes Aviva CEO Nicola Woodward, who is a member of the South Island Family Violence Death Review Committee.

And given the complexities and danger involved in relationships where family violence is present, an ongoing and multi-agency approach to all members of the relationship – child and adult – is essential.

The Committee’s fifth report identifies a number of opportunities to improve government and non-government organisational responses to family violence, and cites Aviva’s innovative approach to working with men[, peer support, and commitment to co-location and collaboration as examples of promising practice.

“As an agency we’ve been moving in this direction for some time, adding work with men who use violence to our services for women and children in 2012. That creates a more holistic and realistic support system for families” says Woodward. High levels of demand for that service – ReachOut, which is a personalised and flexible support service – is testament to the fact that many men using violence do want support to change, to improve their own lives, and to become better parents and partners.

The reality is that most people experiencing family violence will have complex and multiple needs, requiring the specialist support of many services says Woodward. That is why Aviva, along with other partner agencies, has been working for several years to create a new co-location model of service based in Eastgate Shopping Centre that will create more integrated inter-agency systems and communications (opening July 2016).

“Each of our partner agencies knows first-hand that many of our clients will have complex needs, requiring the specialist support of multiple services” Woodward says. “By co-locating a broad range of child and family health and social services, we enhance our capability to share information and develop a rapid multi-agency response to concerns of safety and protection, particularly for children. We believe that this will help remove the ‘gap’ between agencies that the Family Violence Death Review Committee report has spotlighted, and potentially save lives.”

“Being willing to consider new ways of working that will enhance safety, such as addressing how financial exclusion can keep people stuck in a violent situation - is imperative to the safety of our clients. That is what this report reinforces and it’s tragic that more people have lost their lives whilst we as a society and a community of support services really learn this lesson.”

For local family violence support, contact Aviva at www.avivafamilies.org.nz or by calling 0800 AVIVA NOW (0800 28482 669), free phone 24-hours a day.


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