Budget 2022 Speech: Investing to eliminate violence in our homes and communities

Ehara taku toa i te toa takatahi, engari taku toa he toa takimano – my strength is not mine alone but the strength of many (working together to ensure safe, caring respectful responses).

We are striving for change. We want all people in Aotearoa New Zealand thriving; their wellbeing enhanced and sustained because they are safe and supported to live their lives free from family violence and sexual violence.

We want this because addressing family violence and sexual violence is one of our greatest opportunities to improve the wellbeing of children, families, whānau and communities. This violence creates isolation and fear, undermines physical and mental health, impacts education, employment and housing security, and breaches people’s fundamental right to live free from violence and continues intergenerational harm. It is unacceptable.

The evidence shows us that to eliminate violence, government must enable primary prevention that changes social norms and behaviours, fund responses that support people to get to safety and ensure the accountability of those who have used violence, and our systems. We also have an important role to play in enabling communities to take the lead and develop solutions relevant and appropriate to their own people.

In December, we launched Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Te Aorerekura sets a framework for our collective action across government and in communities, to prioritise and accelerate the work already underway, while identifying where more and different actions are needed. Te Aorerekura sets a collective path for investment and action by government, alongside tangata whenua, the specialist sectors and communities.

Te Aorerekura acknowledges the need for continued learning and innovation. It’s essential that we are able to test and learn. I think it’s clear that we have to keep developing new approaches to this mahi, to identify what works for different people as we learn more about the needs of different population groups and build the capability to deliver.

Through public engagement on the National Strategy, we heard communities call on government to shift the focus from central control to one that supports and enables the work of tangata whenua, diverse communities and the specialist sectors. That people want a focus on strength-based wellbeing, creating the conditions for families, whānau and communities to thrive. We heard a desire in communities to increase primary prevention and healing, with this work supported by genuine Treaty partnership with tangata whenua.

Our current work builds on many years of effort. In 2018, the Joint Venture was established to create a more coherent and effective government response to family violence and sexual violence. Since then, the government agencies in the Joint Venture have collaborated to develop joint Budget packages. This has enabled a more cohesive approach to investment and enabled government to direct funding to areas of greatest need and/or opportunity. 

And through the Joint Venture, government has been working to forge the constructive relationships with communities that are needed for the delivery of the National Strategy. 

The Budget 2022 family violence and sexual violence package builds on investment across Budgets 2018 to 2021, which addressed chronic underfunding across the system and laid the foundations for change. Our ongoing investment in the family violence and sexual violence system recognises that sustained effort and investment are required to eliminate violence. Future investment decisions will be underpinned by an investment plan, which will coordinate activity across government, with communities and across Budget cycles.

Today, I am pleased to announce that Budget 2022 invests $114.52m over 4 years in primary prevention, community-led responses and improved workforce capability to strengthen community approaches to prevent and respond to family violence and sexual violence. We are investing for collective action.

This investment will provide:

  • $37.625 million for six primary prevention initiatives to address drivers of harm, enhance protective factors and shift community and societal norms that condone violence. This funding will strengthen MSD’s current work programmes (e.g., E Tū Whānau, Pasefika Proud and the Campaign for Action on Family Violence) and support the development of new prevention approaches for ethnic communities, older people, and youth. It supports Shift 4 of Te Aorerekura - towards investment in primary prevention, by delivering on Actions 21 and 23.
  • $38.07 million across four Votes (Police, Justice, Corrections and Social Development) to strengthen the existing Integrated Community-led Response approach. This funding will enable the five existing community response localities to evaluate and share lessons, address cost pressures, enable the continuation of the Family Violence Response Coordination networks and provide senior probation officers. Future expansion will stabilise responses in more locations and improve the approach to commissioning community services. The current locations are Whiria Te Muka/Te Hiku, South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board, Waikato, Manaaki Tairāwhiti, and Canterbury. This initiative supports Shift One of Te Aorerekura – towards strength-based wellbeing, delivering on Action 2 (Agencies Integrate Community-Led responses) of Te Aorerekura and contributing to Action 6 (Relational Approach to Commissioning).
  • $7.383 million to fund the development of workforce and organisational capability frameworks for the sexual violence sector, and to fund the implementation of new family violence frameworks and tools. This will build workforce capability to respond to family violence and sexual violence harm. The initiative will fund trainers to work across Aotearoa New Zealand to support organisations to build their capability so that people impacted by violence can receive whānau-centred, connected and inclusive responses that enable their safety, strengthening, healing, restoration and wellbeing. This will help to close workforce capability gaps, particularly around meeting the needs of tangata whenua and diverse communities. This gives effect to Te Aorerekura Shift Three: Towards skilled, culturally competent, and sustainable workforces – and delivers on Action 10 – develop trauma-informed capability frameworks for the specialist workforces.
  • $4.0 million will fund the participation of the specialist sectors, communities and people impacted by family violence and sexual violence to determine their priorities across the Te Aorerekura Action Plan and the preferred form(s) of ongoing relationships with the Joint Venture. This is the first step in building the foundations of an enduring model of engagement, where communities engage with Government on their terms, based on their priorities. The initiative supports Te Aorerekura Shift Two: Towards mobilising communities and delivers on Action 5 – engage and value communities in collective monitoring, sharing and learning.
  • $4.568 million will deliver foundational family violence and sexual violence response training to the court-related workforce. This will ensure that court participants receive a safe, consistent and culturally appropriate response if they are affected by family violence and sexual violence at any point of interaction as they move through court proceedings. This contributes to Shift Three of Te Aorerekura: towards skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces and delivers on Action 15 of the Action Plan – build workforce capability.
  • $4.99 million will fund Family Start and Oranga Tamariki to build capability to identify early signs of family violence and sexual violence and support tamariki and whānau who are affected by, or likely to be affected by, family violence and sexual violence. Family Start is a home visitation programme delivered by NGO providers that supports whānau with the health, education and wellbeing of their pēpi and tamariki aged 0-5 years. This will mean whānau have access to specialist knowledge and support for family violence/sexual violence and can take action to prevent it, along with workforces being equipped to identify and respond to the needs of whānau. The initiative supports Te Aorerekura Shift 5: Towards safe, accessible and integrated responses and delivers on Action 32 – improve the Family Start service.
  • $9.772m will address critical cost pressures on family violence NGOs contracted by Te Tāhū o Te Ture Ministry of Justice and Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections, and stabilise services for victims and perpetrators. Additional funding will strengthen the sector, ensuring providers are better resourced and equipped to respond to service users and their whānau. The initiative supports Te Aorerekura Shift 3: Towards a more skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforce.
  • $8.112 million will address a funding shortfall in the Health sector to ensure all victims of non-fatal strangulation can receive appropriate specialist services. The initiative supports Te Aorerekura Shift 5: Towards safe, accessible and integrated responses.

Overall, the impact of the investment in Budget 2022 is intended to:

  • develop, test, strengthen and evaluate community-led and national social change prevention initiatives
  • build and expand community-led family violence and sexual violence responses
  • build on strong relationships with communities and the specialist sectors to determine how they want lead and participate in the changes they want to see, and
  • raise the standards, and train the family violence and sexual violence specialist and general workforces  to ensure the right response every time.

Government is beginning to implement Te Aorerekura and deliver the shifts we want to see across the family violence and sexual violence systems. We are focused on creating peaceful homes and safe communities because this enables wellbeing and a stronger society. It is in the interests of all of us, that we make progress on these complex issues.

There is a lot to do, and I will look forward to making some other important announcements about this work in the weeks ahead.

Together, we can achieve change so that all people in Aotearoa New Zealand are thriving.

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