Media Release 12 May 2020
Additional $183 million being invested in Family violence services .
The Government has announced that it is investing an additional $183 million over the next four years in specialist family violence services for victims/survivors and perpetrators of family violence.
The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuge will receive a substantial increase in funding over the next four years. Women’s Refuge also welcomes the additional funding for Elder Abuse, the specialist responses to strangulation, and services for perpetrators.
Dr Ang Jury, Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge says:
“I am very pleased with this funding announcement and numerous people have worked a very long time in order for this investment in Family Violence services to become a reality”.
This is a very welcome shift in the funding of family violence services and recognises the pressures we face in delivering services in the face of unrelenting high demand. It will help us to meet our costs, ensure safe practice, give our specialist staff manageable caseloads, competitive salaries and remove the need for unpaid overtime.
“As an essential service during the Covid19 lockdown, Women’s Refuge had to change how we worked in a short amount of time. I am very proud of the way in which refuges across the country responded – there was no disruption in the care we provided women and children despite many obstacles.”
“I am also very happy with the speed with which the Government responded with additional funding support, and of course the generosity of individuals and businesses who support us. Without it we would have struggled to meet the 35% increase in demand on the same period last year.”
New Zealand has the highest rate of Family Violence in the developed world and there are concerns these rates could increase.
“This investment in Family Violence services is a timely one. We remain anxious about demand on our services over the next few months and the years to come. Sadly, we know that strained economic conditions are a perfect incubator for family violence. Increased unemployment, growing emotional and psychological distress, along with potential increases in self-medication, will provide fertile ground for family violence.”
The Government has identified that “current funding for essential specialist family violence services is not adequate to meet costs, does not support safe practice and drives high caseloads, low salaries and unpaid hours for sector specialists and other workers”.
“Up until now, we have been doing this vital work, in a country with unacceptable family violence rates through relying heavily on people’s passion and commitment for the work which usually includes many extra, unpaid volunteer hours. This is not sustainable, especially given what we may be facing in months to come, so it is a great relief that we are now able to appropriately compensate those workers for their expertise and dedication.”
“Further, the skills that our staff possess are in high demand in the social sector and it is important that we have the ability to retain those staff. It will also allow us to recruit specialist staff in a way that has never been possible before”.
“It is invaluable to finally see a funding package announced that places family and domestic violence providers such as Women’s Refuge on a solid pathway to sustainability. Ultimately this means that we will be able to continue to provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable women and children in Aotearoa New Zealand for the foreseeable future.”