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Creating 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.

Seven weeks of community engagement on what should be in the new Strategy and Action Plans ended on 30 June.  By the close of engagement, more than 1800 people had attended around 120 community hui. 

The special community hui all around New Zealand reached out to communities with lived experience of family violence and sexual violence and asked them to consider: what do you think needs to be in a National Strategy and Action Plan from your communities’ point of view?

The Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Hon Marama Davidson, spearheaded the call for a new approach to reducing and in time, eliminating family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“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 and now, with new insights and understandings coming out of we have learned during engagement, we can come up with a fresh approach. The new National Strategy will set out actions to help us move forward, together, and they will provide a mandate for change.”

The National Strategy and Action Plans will be released after being considered by Cabinet later this year.

In the meantime, summaries of themes emerging from engagement hui and surveys are available in the What we have understood: reporting back on engagement section of this website.

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 in May.

Minister launches National Strategy engagement on eliminating family and sexual violence

Minister Davidson told the gathering she was proud to be one of a team of Ministers committed to working on this kaupapa.

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.

How did we engage?

Anyone could contribute their voice to the kōrero about what should be in the National Strategy and Action Plans. They did so in three fundamental ways:

1. 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 made a special effort to bring the voices of people impacted by family violence and sexual violence to the fore.  It did so in partnership with Tangata Whenua and interested communities.

Targeted hui were created, led by trusted community members, with attendance by specific invitation from those communities.  They provided safe environments where people could speak freely, and send their views back to the Government without being identified.

In working with tangata whenua and communities, the Government prioritised participation amongst the people most affected by family violence and sexual violence:

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

2. Surveys for all New Zealanders 

Two separate, anonymous online surveys were available to all:

  • a government-initiated survey on the safe consultation platform, Citizen Space, and
  • a survey especially developed by the Backbone Collective for people who identify as female, who have experienced family violence and sexual violence. There were more than 260 responses to the Backbone Collective survey.

3. Submissions by mail and email

More than 600 emails, postcards and letters were received.

Working with Tangata Whenua

The National Strategy and Action Plans are being developed with the support and advice of a Tangata Whenua across the motu. Interim Te Rōpū, which developed and published Te Hau Tangata: The sacred breath of humanity [PDF, 296 KB] – a strategy with a Te Ao Māori perspective, to be shared by everyone.

Minister Davidson says that “One in two Wāhine Māori are survivors of family or sexual violence. 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 resources

The following documents used to guide engagement provide valuable background information on the challenges and opportunities to reduce and eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Invitation to contribute [PDF, 1.5 MB]

Have your say [PDF, 1.3 MB] – a high-level summary of what the Government asked people to think about and comment on during engagement on the National Strategy including a draft Vision and Principles and key focus areas.  See alternative formats of this key document for people with disabilities.

Where should we focus? [PDF, 1.8 MB] – identifies more fully the seven specific areas which capture what the Government understands people have told them over the years, could be done to end family violence and sexual violence. There is also a simple word version of the Where should we focus? word version [DOCX, 67 KB] [DOCX, 65 KB] document.

Alternate formats

You can:

You can order printed copies of the Large Print, Braille and audio transcripts of Have your say from Blind Citizens NZ by emailing admin@abcnz.org.nz or calling 04-389-0033 or freephone 0800-222-694.

The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse(external link)(external link)(external link) has further information and resources you can access online.  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

The summaries below reflect careful assessment and analysis by the Joint Venture of the common themes emerging from the many different engagements. 

They have been reviewed by Independent Advisors who oversee the Government’s handling and interpretation of people’s feedback, to ensure it authentically conveys the voice of those who contributed and successfully maintains 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]

Summary 2, 18 June 2021 [PDF, 366 KB]

This summary brings together the voices, themes and proposed actions from hui conversations, submissions and Citizen Space surveys received between 19 May and 8 June 2021. 

You can also access it as a Word version [DOCX, 91 KB]

Summary 3, 24 September 2021 [PDF, 416 KB]

This summary brings together the voices, themes and proposed actions from hui conversations, submissions and Citizen Space surveys received between 9 and 30 June 2021.

You can also access it as a Word version [DOCX, 110 KB]

What others are saying

The Backbone Collective is playing a strong role in helping the Joint Venture develop the National Strategy and Action Plans. Here is what they have said about the engagement process and the crucial role of victim-survivor voices(external link).

Christchurch-based social services agency START, which has a big role in the sexual violence sector, also recently commented(external link) on the development of the National Strategy.

Independent Advisors

Independent Advisors are supporting 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.

Stella Gukibau (Ngāti Hine/Ngāti Whātua), is the Tumuaki of Tu Wāhine Trust, providing ‘by Māori-for Māori-with Māori’ services to individuals and whānau who are at risk of, or have been disrupted by mahi tūkino/sexual violence and family violence.  She sits on the Paetakawaenga of TOAH-NNEST (Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together) and has served on various national committees representing a Māori community response to mahi tūkino/sexual violence and family violence. She has a Bachelor of Social Work, Diploma of Business and a Master of Management and 34 years’ experience working in the community.

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 Joint Venture by emailing nationalstrategy@violencefree.govt.nz

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