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Integrated community responses to family violence

MSD is working with our community partners and Joint Venture (JV) partner agencies towards greater integration of family and sexual violence sector decisions and responses in communities throughout New Zealand.

The integrated community response (ICR) direction forms part of the JV's broader cross-government programme.

There are three elements to this initiative, with the first nearing completion:

  1. Funding for family violence non-government organisations (NGOs) to attend Safety Assessment Meeting (SAM) tables
  2. Regional family violence practice leads supported by a national family violence practice lead
  3. Funding iwi and NGO participation in regional governance.

Funding was provided as part of Budget 2019 to support integrated community responses.

Supporting a specialist family violence workforce

ICR aims to support a specialist family violence workforce that's able to respond well to anyone in Aotearoa who needs help and support – victims/survivors, whānau and perpetrators – wherever they are.

Evidence shows more integrated community-led approaches can reduce the different forms of family violence through better coordinated, comprehensive and more sustained responses to family violence.

The current family violence system in Aotearoa New Zealand has high levels of fragmentation and variation and there are also gaps – including with NGO representation in communities. This can present challenges in responding to and/or disrupting patterns of violence.

Funding for representatives from family violence and kaupapa Māori specialist NGOs to attend SAM Tables

MSD has almost completed the first phase of the ICR implementation to fund family violence and kaupapa Māori NGO specialists to attend SAM tables, in 46 communities around New Zealand.

Safety Assessment Meeting (SAM) tables are generally established by Police and operate under varying models, such as the Family Violence Interagency Response System (FVIARS) or Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke.

The funding aims to reduce family violence harm by ensuring decisions made at SAM tables are informed by family violence and kaupapa Māori specialists, alongside government agencies.

MSD is a main funder for many family violence providers and we're working closely with Police family harm teams who understand local SAM (or similar) processes, to implement element one.

Forty-five of the 46 SAM table 'teams' around New Zealand have agreed their recommendations on which NGOs are best-placed to be funded to take part in their local SAM table meetings. These local NGO specialists will now play an integral and funded role to help make local decisions and agreed responses.

Having wider NGO representation at SAM tables provides a range of benefits including:

  • Enabling family violence expertise to be used to effectively assess risk and plan the most appropriate safety plans
  • Ensuring everyone who experiences family violence gets access to the best local service – for them, and
  • By funding NGO participation at SAM tables, we're building an essential system foundation for future ICR-related work to come.

To be considered for this funding, from July 2022 NGOs must meet two criteria:

  • Be an MSD-funded family violence specialist provider, and
  • Have Level 2 social services accreditation

A specialist family violence response is from a highly skilled person who has specific training and experience in family violence support within an agency that has expert knowledge of that field of practice embedded at all levels.

We will be re-engaging with each of the SAM tables in the coming months, to discuss how the funding was implemented, and the difference this funding has made to communities. We will be looking to confirm longer-term contracts for this funding from July 2022.

The allocated funding for NGO participation at SAM tables is $4.6 million per financial year.

Regional practice leads, supported by national practice leads

We're engaging with communities to develop and test our approach to designing practice leader roles, taking guidance from our communities.

We’re aiming to have national leaders on board before 28 February 2022. From there we'll start recruiting regional practice lead roles. We're still working on a job description for these roles and we'll engage with communities to make sure these roles are fit-for-purpose.

The allocated funding in 2022 for practice leaders is $2.711 million. From 2022/23 the total allocated funding is $3.866 million.

Funding iwi and NGO participation in regional governance

Regional family violence governance meetings usually happen monthly and are often chaired by the Police or iwi. However not all governance groups involve family violence NGOs or iwi, so strategic plans are sometimes made without guidance from these key groups who need to be an integral part of the system.

The allocated funding for iwi and NGO participation in regional governance is $400,000 each financial year. Based on guidance from the State Services Commission, we've set a daily meeting fee of $360 + GST for any NGO or iwi representative who attends a regional governance meeting.

As the regional governance groups vary significantly across the country, we've left it open for individuals, NGOs and iwi to apply for this funding, as relevant for each region.

Groups can apply for a year's worth of funding at a time (eg 12 x $360 = $4,320). We've emailed all family violence providers to advise them this grant is available and half the regions have applied.

Any questions?

Our family and sexual violence system in Aotearoa is changing. The SAM Tables Project is an important step in shifting from government-led to community-led decision making.

If you have any questions about MSD's Sam Tables Project or other aspects of integrated community responses to family violence, please email our team:ICR_B19@msd.govt.nz.

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