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Help us create a new approach

The Government is partnering with Tangata Whenua and working with targeted communities to create a new National Strategy and Action Plans to eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Special community hui involving communities with lived experience of family violence and sexual violence are being held all around New Zealand between 12 May and 30 June, asking people to consider: What do you think needs to be in a National Strategy and Action Plan, from your communities’ point of view?

At the same time, you can tell us what you think should be done to eliminate family violence and sexual violence by filling out an online survey(external link) on Citizen Space, a safe and confidential online platform hosted by the Ministry of Justice.

Submissions can also be sent by individuals or groups, by post or email. Your submission can be written, an emailed voice recording, or a video statement – however you want to have your say, we want to receive it.

As the Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence Hon Marama Davidson has said, Aotearoa New Zealand needs a fresh approach:

“We have had too many reports over too many years that outline family violence and sexual violence, the problem we face, and describe what we need to change to address it.

“Off the back of these mounting reports I want to now bring us into a live discussion to develop a National Strategy and Action Plans. This will provide a mandate for change and set out actions to help us move forward, together.”

Engagement ends on 30 June. Contributions received by then will be woven into the National Strategy and Action Plans – which Cabinet will consider later this year. Emerging themes from engagement are being made available on this website as engagement progresses.

The start of engagement was celebrated by Ministers and representatives of communities impacted by family violence and sexual violence at a special event at the Ngā Whare Waatea marae in South Auckland.

Minister launches National Strategy engagement on eliminating family and sexual violence

Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Hon Marama Davidson told the gathering that she was proud to be leading a team of Ministers committed to working on this kaupapa, together.

Minister Davidson - working together

She was clear about the engagement process opening up a safe and trusted space for all voices in the community - particularly those with lived experience of family violence and sexual violence - to be listened to and learned from, and to inform the creation of the National Strategy and Action Plans.

Minister Davidson - getting involved

Who is engagement for?

Anyone can contribute their voice to the kōrero about what needs to be in the National Strategy and Action Plans. There are four ways your voice can be heard:

Online survey

You can go to the safe government website Citizen Space and fill out a questionnaire(external link)(external link). There is a short version, and a longer version if you'd like to contribute more.


Send your views to submissions@violencefree.govt.nz. Your contribution can be written, or a voice or video recording.

Write a letter

Use the Parliamentary Freepost address for the Minister: Marama Davidson MP, Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18 888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160.  Your letter will be forwarded in confidence to the Joint Venture Unit for analysis.

Community hui 

Because it's often hard to hear the voices of people who have lived experience of family violence and sexual violence, the Government is making a special effort to bring those voices to the fore - in safe, closed, community hui.

Working in partnership with Tangata Whenua and interested communities, the Joint Venture is creating opportunities for targeted hui, led by trusted community members. These will provide safe environments where people can speak freely, and send their views back to the Government without being identified. Attendance at these hui is by invitation only from a particular community.

In addition to Tangata Whenua, the communities being prioritised are:

  • Victims-survivors
  • Pacific peoples
  • Disabled peoples
  • New migrant, refugee and ethnic communities
  • Older people
  • Tamariki and rangatahi
  • Rainbow communities
  • People who use violence

If you are a community leader interested in hosting your own hui or conversation, the Joint Venture has tools to support you to engage on your terms, in ways that work best for you. To support your hui, you can download the tools in the Key documents to guide engagement section, or request these and other resources by contacting nationalstrategy@violencefree.govt.nz.

All contributions and submissions received from any of the four engagement channels will be carefully and confidentially analysed.

Partnering with Tangata Whenua

Engagement on the National Strategy and Action Plans has been developed with the support and advice of an Interim Te Rōpū made up of Tangata Whenua leaders. The Interim Te Rōpū developed and published a report Te Hau Tangata: The sacred breath of humanity [PDF, 296 KB] as a strategy with a Te Ao Māori perspective, to be shared with everyone. It is a key reference document for engagement, along with other engagement tools.

Launching engagement on the National Strategy, the Minister underlined the importance of this mahi, noting that Wāhine Māori are disproportionately represented in family violence and sexual violence statistics.

“One in two wāhine Māori are survivors of family or sexual violence," she said. "It is essential, in light of that evidence, that Māori leadership, Te Ao Māori thinking and the inclusive Te Tiriti framework are at the forefront in transforming the system.”

Key documents to guide engagement

There are three key documents which support the engagement process.

Invitation to contribute [PDF, 1.5 MB]

This includes:

  • an invitation from the Minister to participate
  • a summary for your feedback, of what the Government has heard previously should be key areas we should focus on, if we are help heal, prevent and respond to family violence and sexual violence
  • a plan showing how and when the National Strategy and Action Plans will be delivered.

Have your say [PDF, 1.3 MB] 

This is a high-level summary of what the Government is asking people to think about and comment on during engagement on the National Strategy and Action Plans, including a draft Vision and Principles.

Alternate formats

You can download a simple Have your say word version [DOCX, 46 KB](external link) of the document.

See Easy Read versions here:

See the NZSL video(external link)

Alternate formats of Have your say for the blind and visually impaired are in production and will be available here soon.

Contact nationalstrategy@violencefree.govt.nz if you or your organisation would like to distribute any of the available alternate formats.

Where should we focus? [PDF, 1.8 MB]

This document identifies seven specific focus areas which summarise what the Government understands people have already told them over the years, should be done to end family violence and sexual violence. Each focus area highlights key themes and priorities for action and asks specific questions. You can write your answers on pages in the document and send them as a submission by email or post, or you can answer the questions online in the survey on Citizen Space(external link)(external link).

A simple word version of the focus areas document is available: Where should we focus? word version [DOCX, 67 KB]

Copies of all these resources can be requested directly by contacting nationalstrategy@violencefree.govt.nz   Further guidance is also available on request to the same email - for example a draft agenda if you are wanting to run your own community engagement.

New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse(external link)(external link) has further information and resources you can access online, to support your participation in engagement. A portal on their home page takes you to:

  • general resources about the prevalence, impacts and drivers of family, whanāu and sexual violence; existing strategies and campaigns for violence prevention; reports and research from New Zealand and internationally
  • resources that relate more directly to Tangata Whenua and the eight communities most impacted by family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

What We Have Understood: reporting back on engagement

Check here for regular updates summarising what we're learning from hui and submissions.

The summaries reflect careful assessment and analysis by the Joint Venture of the common themes emerging from the different engagements (via the Citizen Space survey; emailed and posted submissions; and closed community-led hui).

As part of the process, the summaries have been reviewed by Independent Advisors appointed to oversee the Government’s handling and interpretation of your feedback. This process has been designed to ensure that the information is presented in a way that conveys the voice of those who have contributed while retainings confidentiality and integrity.

Summary 1, 4 June 2021 [PDF, 302 KB]
This summary brings together the voices, themes and proposed actions from hui conversations, submissions and Citizen Space surveys received between 12 and 19 May 2021.

You can also access it as a word version [DOCX, 83 KB]

If you’d like to respond to the content or share further reflections, contact submissions@violencefree.govt.nz and your contribution will be added to the analysis process.

Look out for the next What We Have Understood update later in June.

Independent Advisors

Independent Advisors support the development of the National Strategy and Action Plans. Appointed for their expertise, leadership and understanding of the family violence and sexual violence system their role is to:

  • monitor and review the Joint Venture’s collection, analysis and reflection of feedback received during engagement, and
  • provide advice on the development and content of the National Strategy and Action Plans.

They were selected from a list of nominees received from ngā tāngata whenua rōpū, diverse communities, and sector bodies working within the family violence and sexual violence system.

Independent Advisor Profiles

Dr Nicole Coupe (Ngāi Tahu/Te Atiawa) is the CEO of Kirikiriroa Family Services Trust (KFST), working to enable kaimahi to support tamariki and their whānau to be empowered to prevent family and sexual harm to tamariki within the Waikato region. She has a PhD and research experience in Kaupapa Māori epidemiology, particularly suicide prevention.

Dr Judith Davey has worked closely with voluntary organisations representing seniors and provided advice to numerous policy-making bodies in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Her social research has focused on the ageing of the population - its social, economic and policy implications. She was the first Director of the New Zealand Institute for Research on Ageing and in 2019 was awarded the MNZM for services to seniors.

Silvana Erenchun Perez is the Strategic Manager of Shama Ethnic Women’s Trust, an agency providing support and advocacy for ethnic women and their families experiencing family violence, sexual violence or other complex issues. She is of Chilean descent.

Dr Ruth Jones (Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Ngāti Porou) is a qualified social worker and a co-director of Kanohi ki te Kanohi consultancy. She has worked in the disability sector as a practitioner and manager for the past 20 years and as a person with a disability, is committed to ensuring all people, including tāngata and whānau whaikaha (Māori with disabilities and their whanau) are respected as equal citizens. She was a member of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families for five years and an active contributor to the Disability Coalition Against Violence while it was active.

Hector Kaiwai (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Maniopoto, Tūhoe) has more than 15 years’ experience as a kaupapa Māori researcher and evaluator in the justice, social and health sectors. He has been involved in a number of projects in the justice sector including an evaluation of Ministry of Justice-funded Domestic Violence Programmes, an evidence review of what is known about effective recovery services for men who have been sexually abused, and an evaluation of the Body Safe Programme for Rape Prevention Education Whakatu Mauri. He was the research lead for the Māori-led Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki, an independent reviewer for the Office of the Children’s Commission report Te Kuku O Te Manawa, and is currently involved in an evaluation with Safe Man Safe Family funded by the Ministry of Social Development.

Deborah Mackenzie is a co-founder of the Backbone Collective, an independent organisation that gathers the experiences of women who are victim-survivors to help inform the continuous improvement of policy, programmes and services that respond to family and sexual violence. She has worked for many years trying to improve New Zealand's response to violence against women and children and has a special interest in improving the justice sector response.

Hera Pierce (Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa/Ngāpuhi, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Māhaki) is a practitioner in Kaupapa Māori Mahi Tukino/sexual violence, a founding member of Ngā Kaitiaki Mauri, and sits on the Paetakaweanga of TOAH-NNEST (Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together). She has been involved in many government-led projects, is a very proud Wahine Māori and kuia to many grandchildren.

Lui Poe is a New Zealand-born Samoan from the villages of Safotu, Faleula, Faleaitu and Fasito’o Uta. He is the Chief of Operations for the Pacific social change organisation, The Cause Collective, which has a focus on improving outcomes for Pacific people and South Auckland. He has more than two decades of experience in the social sector, at practitioner, management and governance levels. His work in the area of family and sexual violence has predominantly focused on child protection and working with families.

Jono Selu is a queer social activist with a particular interest in intersectionality and identity formation. They have a background in health promotion and education, specialising in sexual health, sexual violence prevention, sexuality and gender identity, mental health, and decolonisation, and are of Samoan, Scottish and English heritage.

Lisa Smith (Tainui, Ngāti Raukawa ki Te Kaokaoroa O Patetere, Te Arawa) is the Pukenga Whakarongo of Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga (National Network of Family Violence Services). She has a long history of frontline specialist family violence work and now works nationally to increase the visibility, resilience and voices of kaimahi Māori and kaupapa Māori family violence providers.

Takurua Tawera (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa) is Co-chair (Māori Caucus) for Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga/National Network of Family Violence Services, Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign Trust, and Pou Whakahaere (senior cultural specialist) and counsellor for Moana House Dunedin. He has been working for almost thirty-five years with high-risk ngā tāngata, who use all forms of complex behaviours including violence.

Dr Natalie Thorburn is the principal policy advisor for NCIWR – National Collective of Independent Women's Refuges Inc, and a registered social worker. She has a PhD in the field of gendered violence and leads NCIWR’s research programme into various aspects of family violence.

Gender Minorities Aotearoa – an Independent Advisor has also been appointed from the nationwide transgender organisation Gender Minorities Aotearoa, run by and for transgender people, including non-binary, intersex, and irawhiti takatāpui people. Their name is being withheld under section 9(2)(a) of the Official Information Act.

To find out more

Contact the engagement team in the Joint Venture by emailing nationalstrategy@violencefree.govt.nz

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