Budget 2020: Family violence services to receive nearly $203m in funding

New Zealand's family violence services will receive nearly $203 million from the 2020 Budget as part of the next steps to end domestic and sexual abuse.

The Ministry of Social Development is allocated $183 million over the next four years to ensure it can continue to fund access to specialist family violence services. Of this, $142 million is for services supporting victims of family violence, $16 million is for services to help perpetrators to stop inflicting family violence, and $25 million is to support victims of elder abuse.

A further $19.9 million is allocated to boost multi-agency specialist support for victims of strangulation. This will provide health professionals with the expertise needed to assess cases of non-fatal strangulation, will fund them to carry out assessments and prepare forensic reports, and will ensure expert witnesses are compensated for the time they need to attend court and prepare evidential reports.

Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence) Jan Logie says the COVID-19 pandemic has added increased pressure to New Zealand families and more victims of family violence are isolated.

"It's right that we respond properly to this. As a Government we have committed to end this violence," she says.

"What this means in real terms is better support for those experiencing abuse, whilst empowering people who use violence to change their behaviour. It will save lives and mean we are a safer, healthier New Zealand."

Associate Minister of Social Development Poto Williams says these initiatives build on the 2019 Wellbeing Budget, which saw $320.9 million invested that was "dedicated to eliminating family violence and sexual violence".

"We have been consistently clear that this Government's approach to family violence and sexual violence is long-term and multi-year, and it needs to be if we are to end the scourge of family violence and sexual violence in New Zealand," Williams says.

Logie added the whole-of-government joint venture approach to eliminating family and sexual violence will ensure women, children and all affected victims will be safer in their homes.

"We all know that only by working together, and doing things differently, are we going to make the change we need to, to end family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa. The three Budgets we have delivered so far are a solid foundation for that change."

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