Budget 2020: Next steps to end family and sexual violence

The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Budget includes support for services by Māori for Māori, those supporting victims of elder abuse, and programmes for people who use violence and want to change their behaviour.

Additional support across the Health, Police and Justice portfolios will ensure victims of non-fatal strangulation get the medical, psychological and forensic support they need to heal and to go through the justice process.

“Refuges, helplines, crisis services and many other organisations sit at the heart of our response to families who are experiencing violence,” said Jan Logie, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues).

“At a time of national crisis we have never needed them more. We know this crisis has increased pressure to New Zealand families and that more victims are isolated. It’s right that we respond properly to this. As a Government we have committed to end this violence.”

“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.

The bulk of the support sits with the Ministry of Social Development.

“The initiatives have a strong focus on specialist services, with $183.0 million committed to support victims of family violence, support people experiencing elder abuse, and investing in services to help people to stop using violence,” said Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister of Social Development.

“Alongside those initiatives, we are also boosting a multi-agency specialist support for victims of strangulation, with $19.9 million going into boosting specialist health, mental health and forensic services, and access to the legal system.

“Collectively, these initiatives build on last year’s Wellbeing Budget. 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,” Poto Williams said.

Jan Logie said: “I particularly want to acknowledge and the whole-of-government Joint Venture approach to eliminating family violence and sexual violence. It is because of this work across all our agencies that women, children and everyone affected by violence 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.”

The Budget initiatives announced today are:

  • $183.0 million over the next four years for the Ministry of Social Development to ensure continued access to specialist family violence services, including:
    • Services supporting victims of family violence ($142.0 million)
    • Services to help perpetrators to stop inflicting family violence ($16.0 million), and
    • Support for victims of elder abuse ($25.0 million) and

A cross-agency initiative with Police, Justice and Health to ensure victims of non-fatal strangulation can access highly trained medical practitioners, trained to deal with the trauma and for forensic services necessary to gather the robust evidence needed to prosecute offenders ($19.9 million).

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