Sunday, June 16, 2024

Digital toolkit offers holistic approach to family violence support

Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, has officially launched a suite of new digital tools to support people affected by family violence.

“Family violence is a scourge on our society and violent behaviour of any kind is absolutely unacceptable. We are taking the important steps to modernise access and better connect New Zealanders experiencing family violence to the services that can support them,” Minister Radhakrishnan said.

“Bringing more support online will make taking those first steps to get support more accessible, and work towards our goal of eliminating family violence in Aotearoa.”

New digital tools launched today include a centralised 24/7 phone and online-chat support service, a dedicated website with interactive resources for those seeking help, and a new online space specifically driving behaviour change for those who may use violence. 

“The pandemic highlighted a lack of alternatives to in-person support, including for those experiencing family violence. We committed $4m through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to develop support tools that are relevant to the communities they serve,” the Minister said.

“This suite of digital tools will mean support is more accessible to those who need it, wherever they are, and whenever they need it,” she said.

A 24/7 family violence support service accessible via phone and online chat will be delivered by Whakarongorau Aotearoa, in partnership with NCIWR and Shine. This service will directly support our refuges, helping to ease pressure on refuge staff. Traditional support services are now complemented by online help, offering built-in flexibility.

A new ‘Are You OK’ website focuses completely on supporting family violence victims/survivors, building on the success of the It’s Not OK campaign. The website features a new ‘Check it Out’ relationship assessment tool and a ‘Service Finder’ tool, helping users identify the most relevant support and where to access it.

A separate website, In Your Hands, has also launched to drive behaviour change by those who may use violence and their support networks, so they can access information and support.

“Any form of family violence is unacceptable, which makes the prevention of future violence and harm so important,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.

“In order to eliminate family violence entirely, it’s important we educate and support individuals to understand violent and harmful behaviours, and the serious damage they cause to families and whānau.

“The development of all these tools has been done directly with the family violence sector to ensure we introduce tools that will best support our communities.”

Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson welcomed the new digital initiatives as an important tool for communities to help people recognise and respond to family violence.

“This suite of new digital tools is a significant step for Te Aorerekura – our National Strategy to Eliminate Family and Sexual Violence.”

“By making it easier for people impacted by violence to reach out for support, we’re on the right track to interrupt cycles of violence and support people and whānau to heal,” she said.

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