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Big Welcome For Family Violence Strategy

Today’s launch of New Zealand’s first joint family violence and sexual violence strategy is being celebrated by a leading national family violence network.

Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence – guides collective work towards eliminating family violence and sexual violence.

It is a 25-year strategy focusing on the wellbeing of all people in Aotearoa and recognises that a range of social conditions contribute to family violence and sexual violence.

National Network of Family Violence Services (Te Kupenga) Kaiarahi/CEO Merran Lawler is hailing the document and 43-step action plan as a historic step in the right direction.

“We welcome Hon Marama Davidson’s launch of the strategy and action plan, a long time in the making.

“While there have been multiple frameworks, plans and strategies over the last 30 years, our response to family violence and sexual violence has remained disjointed and piecemeal.

“But the proof will be in the pudding,” she said.

She said the plan’s actions were very broad and how government would prioritise and fund actions would be crucial to the strategy’s success.

She said, in the absence of clear priorities, it would be easy for any government to pick “the lowest hanging fruit” in terms of actions which are highly visible and less resource intensive.

“A swanky new family violence campaign, for example is, politically, a more attractive option than investment in on the ground resource intensive support services.”

In prioritising the actions, she said the primary focus should be on answering a question that needed to occur with every action - how would it fundamentally change the opportunity to be violent, to harm others and create victims?

“The Strategy and action plan is a fantastic first step, but the devil will be in in the detail and in its implementation,” she said.

Meanwhile, a significant move forward is that Te Aorerekura will help give effect to Te Tiriti by continuing to build relationships between Māori and the Crown.

It aims to enable Māori to have more of a role in their own wellbeing and works to strengthen protective factors and achieve equitable outcomes.

Lisa Smith, who is the network’s Pukenga Whakarongo (Kaimahi Māori Advisor), was one of many Māori specialists who spent many weeks sitting in wānanga and multiple hui to help inform the documents.

She said there needed to be a recognition for the time, effort and energy put toward the consultation process.

Many people had come before her and the current cohort of leaders in the sector that had been saying the same, “By Māori, with Māori, for Māori”.

“We need Māori in decision-making places,” she said.

“What is really exciting is the implementation of the Māori Advisory Group.

“It’s about the Crown showing, not just saying, it has heard our calls for an equal relationship.

“In the past, that’s what has undermined attempts to try and create a system that supports Māori to flourish and thrive.”

She said the Joint Business Venture Unit (JVBU), leading the National Strategy, worked with independent advisors and the tangata whenua cohort.

“The exciting thing is we’ve got a strategy and from this side of its release and implementation, it looks promising.

“In this is the devolution of power, the ability for us to determine what we know works for us.

“I’m filled with hope but will proceed with caution.”


National Network of Family Violence Services – see www.nnsvs.org.nz for help to find a local family violence service.

Shine domestic abuse services (external link) – free call 0508 744 633 (9am to 11pm) for help with domestic abuse or how to help someone else.

Hey Bro helpline (external link) – free call 0800 439 276 for 24/7 help for men who feel they’re going to harm a loved one or whānau member.

Need to Talk? 1737 (external link) – men can free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.


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