Govt announces $320m package to fight family and sexual violence

The Government has announced what it's calling the biggest-ever investment in family and sexual violence and support services.

This year's Budget will include a $320 million package aimed at:

  • "preventing family violence and sexual violence ($47.8 million over four years)"
  • "safe, consistent and effective responses to family violence in every community ($84.3 million)"
  • "expanding essential specialist sexual violence services: moving towards fully funding services ($131.1 million)"
  • "reforming the criminal justice system to better respond to victims of sexual violence ($37.8 million)"
  • And "strengthening system leadership and supporting new ways of working ($20.0 million)".

"There has never before been investment of this scale in preventing and responding to family violence and sexual violence,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"Every year about 1million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence, including almost 300,000 children. This is something I know New Zealand is ashamed of and the Government is taking a major step forward in fixing in the Budget."

This year's Budget is being promoted by the Government as having a focus on 'wellbeing'.

Included in the funding is more money for:

  • sexual violence crisis support services
  • major advertising campaigns
  • intervention programmes
  • video victim statements to "reduce trauma for up to 30,000 victims of family violence every year" and reduce the time they have to spend in court
  • specialist lawyer training for sexual violence cases
  • peer support services for male victims
  • dedicated funding for a kaupapa Māori response
  • and better training for DHB practitioners.

"The package we’re announcing today lays the foundations for a violence-free Aotearoa New Zealand," said Green MP Jan Logie, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues).

"The package announced today gives providers funding security, while making available significant extra resource to break the cycle of violence and provide more women, men and children the help they need."

Thirteen women and 10 men are killed each year in domestic and partner violence incidents on average, according to Statistics NZ. About 40 percent of police time is spent responding to family violence cases.

The package was revealed on Sunday morning at Te Pou Herenga Waka in Manukau. A number of high-ranking ministers, including Grant Robertson, Stuart Nash, Carmel Sepuloni and Andrew Little were there, as the spending will go across several portfolios.

Women's Refuge welcomed the funding boost.

"Successive governments have talked about the need to invest in family violence services for years, and this package demonstrates this Government's commitment to finally addressing the issue," said CEO Ang Jury.

"As we and Government know, violence prevention is a long-term proposition. In the meantime, the Budget will not assist the women and children who need a safe place when they leave their abusers...

"It can be potentially a generation or more until prevention efforts begin to bear fruit, which means women and children still require assistance now and that needless assaults and deaths will continue."

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