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Accessible Family and Sexual Violence Services for Disabled People Fund (the Accessibility Fund)

Disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori make up approximately 24% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population, experiencing significantly higher rates of interpersonal violence compared to other New Zealanders. Disabled adults are 52% more likely than non-disabled adults to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori impacted by family and sexual violence often have limited options for accessing support due to inaccessible mainstream services. This means they have more difficulty accessing essential support in times of critical need. Systemic discrimination, inadequate services, and the significant lack of data all contribute to the increased risk of violence for disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori.

In 2023, MSD received $3.419 million to start addressing the absence of accessible services for disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori. The Accessibility Fund aims to support MSD-funded family and sexual violence (FV/SV) providers to enhance their physical, digital, and information-based accessibility. It is the first initiative of its kind in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a step towards ensuring disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori have equal access to FV/SV support services.

The Accessibility Fund is focused on the following key areas:

  • Making physical modifications to selected refuges so disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori have equal access.
  • Supporting MSD-funded FV/SV providers with the opportunity to apply for funding to improve their physical, digital, and information-based accessibility through a competitive grant process.
  • Increasing FV/SV staff awareness of accessibility needs and barriers through training.
  • Gathering data to better inform our knowledge of the existing accessibility barriers to FV/SV services.

The long-term outcomes of the Accessibility Fund include:

  • Improved access of disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori to mainstream FV/SV services.
  • A greater understanding of the mainstream service gaps that currently exist for all disabled people across the FV/SV sector.

This opportunity is a starting point to maximising accessible FV/SV services in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Focusing on refuges will increase support for disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori in times of critical need

Currently, refuges/safe houses have significant accessibility challenges. The disabled sector has told us that one of the main barriers is the lack of physical access to services, making disabled people reluctant to leave their homes when exposed to violence. This severely disadvantages disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori, putting them at greater risk of experiencing family and sexual violence.

Part of this initiative focuses on funding several eligible refuges to improve their accessibility so disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori have access in times of acute need. The physical modifications could include installing ramps and accessible toilets, widening doorways, and fitting accessible kitchens.

An accessibility self-assessment tool will support providers to better understand their accessibility gaps

MSD has designed an accessibility self-assessment tool for providers to assess their level of accessibility. The self-assessment is designed to assist providers in identifying changes required to make their services more accessible.

The data from the self-assessments will also be used to inform MSD about the current state of FV/SV service accessibility in Aotearoa New Zealand and the existing barriers preventing disabled people/tāngata whaikaha Māori from accessing FV/SV services.

Completing and submitting the self-assessment online is a pre-condition for all providers applying for FV/SV Accessibility Grant funding, and/or Disability Awareness Training.

You can now complete the self-assessment online via the link Accessibility Self-Assessment Survey Monkey.

We recommend downloading and reading the following documents before completing the online self-assessment:

If you would like an accessible Word version of the Accessibility Self-Assessment, please contact us at accessibilityfund@msd.govt.nz.

Eligible MSD FV/SV providers can now apply for an Accessibility Grant

MSD welcomes applications from eligible MSD-funded FV/SV providers for an FV/SV Accessibility Grant for proposed physical, digital, and information-based accessibility enhancements. Applications could include developing an accessible website, creating accessible information in alternate formats, or other physical modifications specific to the provider’s needs. This is a competitive process for one-off grant funding of up to $75,000.

We welcome innovative ideas to shape the future of a more accessible Aotearoa New Zealand.

The opportunity to apply for a grant is open from 1 July 2024 – 12 August 2024.

If you are interested in this grant opportunity, please download and read the following documents:

To be considered eligible for grant funding, the applicant must meet the following pre-conditions:

  • The applicant is a current MSD-funded family violence or sexual violence provider who delivers direct to client services (at time of application closing date – 12 August 2024).
  • The proposed accessibility enhancements do not duplicate items or services already funded under other MSD contracts.
  • The applicant must have completed and submitted the ‘Accessibility Self-Assessment’ online (see below).
  • If applying for funding to make physical modifications to the applicant’s property where the FV/SV services are delivered, the property must be owned by the applicant or have a minimum of two years remaining on the lease term (at time of application closing date – 12 August 2024). Evidence must be submitted in writing alongside the application.
  • For rented properties, the applicant must have written permission from the landlord/owner regarding the proposed modification/s. This must be submitted in writing alongside the application.

To apply for this competitive grant, please send a completed FV/SV Accessibility Grant Application Form to accessibilityfund@msd.govt.nz by 5pm, 12 August 2024.

Upskilling the FV/SV workforce through Disability Awareness Training to better understand accessibility needs

The Accessibility Fund is also contributing to supporting FV/SV staff broaden their awareness and knowledge of disability and accessibility. This is based on feedback from the FV/SV and disabled communities about the need for workforce development. 

MSD is partnering with Blueprint for Learning and Te Pou to offer a limited number of spaces for providers to participate in a virtual, introductory disability awareness training programme.

While dates are still to be confirmed, MSD anticipates training will commence in early 2025.

To be considered eligible for this training:

  1. Training participants must work for an MSD-funded FV/SV provider, and
  2. The provider must have completed and submitted the Accessibility Self-Assessment before applying for training.

Please note: those wishing to apply for training do not need to have applied for grant funding as well.

This Disability Awareness Training is aimed at increasing disability awareness and responsiveness.

This introductory training will be virtual, and we expect it will be delivered over three two-hour sessions.

Next steps

We will continue to share updates about the Accessibility Fund via our website and through the sector newsletter, which you can subscribe to below.

If you have any queries, you can contact us at accessibilityfund@msd.govt.nz.

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