10 Oct 2019

Family violence project centering whānau delivers positive results

2:50 pm on 10 October 2019

Two pilots of an integrated, safety-focused response to family violence have delivered positive results in Christchurch and Waikato, says an independent evaluation.

Domestic violence

Photo: 123RF

The Integrated Safety Response (ISR) is a multi-agency project designed to ensure the immediate safety of victims and children, and to work with people who use violence in order to prevent it from happening in the future.

"We know that when government and community agencies work together in a genuinely people-centered and wellbeing-focused way, it can have a serious impact on family violence," Jan Logie, Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues), said.

"In some areas they found that this model actually undermines exisiting relationships and flow of information, which is really not what we want, but it does show us that this one size fits all doesn't work," she said.

ISR takes a whole-of-family and whānau approach, with dedicated staff, daily risk assessment and triage, and family safety plans.

The pilots in Christchurch and Waikato began in 2016 and have been extended for a further two years through the 2019 Wellbeing Budget.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said one of the top priorities is to improve the wellbeing of people and police have a clear focus on crime prevention and community safety to help deliver that objective.

"The ISR programme helps the police make a difference by ensuring the immediate safety of victims, and by working with the perpetrators to prevent further violence for families and whānau. The police are leading the programme in collaboration with multiple agencies.

"The evaluation has found people feel safer, are better connected to support networks and agencies, and are increasingly enacting their own safety plans and keeping themselves safe.

"It is particularly encouraging to see a 48 percent reduction in children witnessing or being exposed to family violence; and that Māori victims reported lower rates of repeat offending against them compared to Māori victims outside the ISR sites.

"We increased funding for ISR by almost $30 million in this year's Budget and extended it for another two years. The ISR pilots are just one part of a wider all-of-government response that is needed to tackle family violence. It is a persistent and challenging long-term problem but this evaluation shows we have a good platform from which to build," he said.

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