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Budget focus on family violence prevention a big step

Budget focus on family violence prevention a big step in the right direction

The National Network of Stopping Violence Services today welcomed the Ardern Government’s Family Violence and Sexual Violence Package announcement, part of its Wellbeing Budget.

Heralding it as a “big step in the right direction”, NNSVS Kaiarahi and National Advocate, Merran Lawler said the Package is bearing some of the fruits of the Government’s efforts to develop a coordinated whole-of-government approach to eliminating family and sexual violence.

“The initiatives, across a multitude of ministries and departments and brought together in one package, show it is both possible and vital that different ministries work collectively, rather than within individual ministerial siloes. Credit must be given to Parliamentary Under-Secretary Jan Logie who has been working hard driving the need for the systems coordination we are beginning to see in addressing family violence” Ms Lawler said.

“The focus on prevention, represented by the increase of $47.8 million over four years, is particularly positive”, she said. “It shows the Government has heard the importance of building the fence at the top of the cliff rather than simply being the ambulance at the bottom in addressing family violence. Increased investments in early identification initiatives (expansion of both the Early Years Violence Prevention and expanded health screening) provide real opportunities to intervene earlier and begin to address the intergenerational patterns of family violence”.

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While also welcoming increases in funding for family violence front-line services and capability building across the family violence sector, Ms Lawler said it was not yet clear how those initiatives would impact upon existing specialist family violence providers across the country.

“The devil is in the detail. I’d like to think that the Package recognises the importance of having effective, stable and financially secure specialist family violence services. Currently, those services struggle to survive. Many receive Government funding of less than 50 cents in every dollar to deliver specialist family violence programmes and services to victims, perpetrators, children, family and whānau. All must now compete for funding with non-specialist agencies which are seeking to pick the low hanging fruit of new family violence initiatives which are much better funded than those currently in place. Investing in existing specialist responses to increase their capacity (rather than simply their capability) may not be as politically attractive as announcing “the next big new initiative” but is pivotal to ensuring that victims receive the specialist support they require, and perpetrators are held to account and given opportunity to change their unacceptable behaviours”.


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