Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Workforce frameworks to strengthen family violence response

New workforce frameworks will make an important difference to people impacted by family violence by strengthening responses and ensuring services support people’s safety, and long-term healing and wellbeing, says New Zealand’s Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

“People have long been asking for workforces capable of providing safe, consistent, and effective responses to family violence, in ways that meet their specific needs,” said Minister Marama Davidson.

“The frameworks set new benchmarks for organisations and set out the capabilities required of specialist and general workforces, so that everyone experiencing family violence gets the appropriate support when they reach out for help.”

The frameworks can be used by both government and non-government workforces to build understanding of the dynamics of family violence, and their capability to respond effectively to it, whenever, however and wherever it occurs, she said.

The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges and Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga – the National Network of Family Violence Services, will lead a ‘test and learn’ approach to the frameworks.

Government agencies will also be applying the frameworks, starting with Police, Ara Poutama Aotearoa – Corrections, and Justice.

“The frameworks will support specialist family violence organisations to enhance the work they’re already doing in this space, while also helping generalist organisations develop their understanding of what’s required to provide the best support possible for those affected by family violence,” says Minister Davidson.

More than 90% of family violence victim-survivors are aware of helping organisations, but only a small proportion (23%)[1] of people contact them, she said.

“Improving family violence responses will help victim-survivors have more confidence in the organisations and systems there to help them, so that they are more likely to seek the help they need to be safe, and strengthen and heal. Safe and effective responses will also support the work undertaken with people who use violence to ensure safe accountability and behaviour change.”

“The first time someone reaches out for help may be the only time they have the courage to do so, and they need to be met with a response every time that is safe, and that provides the validation and support needed to start the long-term healing. That’s why building the capability of our workforces is so important.

“The frameworks were developed collaboratively by people who work in the specialist sector including tangata whenua, and representatives of victim-survivors, diverse communities such as disabled people and LGBTQIA+, and government. Taking a whānau- and family-centred approach to prevention, restoration and healing is a key focus.

“I want to acknowledge the influence that family violence experts have had in developing these frameworks and sharing the voice of lived experience and the wisdom of people who work in this challenging and specialist sector and of the people they serve,” she said.

The Minister said eliminating family violence and sexual violence was one of New Zealand’s greatest opportunities for improving people’s wellbeing.

“Achieving this requires consistently effective responses that meet the needs of diverse groups of people. We look forward to working with everyone to promote and support the use of these important tools,” she said.

[1] New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey: Help Create Safer Communities. Key Findings, Ministry of Justice (2019)

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