Simon Collins

Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

Family violence survey deadline 'ridiculous'

Anti-violence groups have been startled by a Government survey giving them only 48 hours to list their top three priorities to tackle family violence.

The survey was sent out by the Ministry of Social Development's family violence unit on Wednesday with a note saying it was to inform the work of a new expert advisory group on family violence appointed last week by Associate Minister Tariana Turia.

But advisory group chairman Judge Paul von Dadelszen said the group would not meet until October 21 and did not know about the survey.

The survey gave community groups until 5pm today to list the three biggest challenges facing their communities in regard to preventing and addressing family violence, and the "three priority actions that would make the greatest difference in preventing and addressing family violence with these communities".

After Herald inquiries yesterday the ministry said last night that it received almost 200 online responses within 24 hours, but had extended the deadline to 5pm next Wednesday.

Stella Gukibau of West Auckland agency Tu Wahine said she would not respond because the timetable was "ridiculous".

"This is just outrageous that we are being expected to once again respond to something as important as this at the flick of a finger," she said.

"There is an expectation that we would be able to consult with our community on those things, because we work on behalf of communities and not just for ourselves."

Shine violence prevention agency director Jane Drumm said said she was "pretty startled'' by the survey but she would respond.

"They are really huge questions, so to be able to answer them, which I will do because they are really important questions, I'll have to take a bit of time to think about them," she said.

Green MP Jan Logie said she had deep concerns about asking the advisory group to report by the end of the year without time for input from frontline services.

But Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project manager Lila Jones listed her three priority actions immediately as good collaboration, continued public education, and more funding.

Mrs Turia said she asked the advisory group to report by the end of the year on how the money going into family violence could be better spent, ``so we can put in a Budget bid for the next Budget round''.

"The reason we are doing this is that generally we are not sure whether Ministry of Social Development, Justice or whoever else puts funding into the violence area, whether it is actually getting to where it's needed the most,'' she said.

"It's reviewing the agencies and their funding. The whole goal is to look at what's working and what's not working, should we be in fact thinking of moving the money elsewhere.'"

FAMILY VIOLENCE EXPERT GROUP
Judge Paul von Dadelszen, chairman
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, former Women's Refuge chief executive
Dr James Prescott, Families Commissioner
Dr Huhana Hickey, human rights lawyer
Dr Janet Fanslow, violence researcher
Dr Julia Tolmie, Family Violence Death Review Committee
Everdina Fuli, indigenous researcher
Dr Peter Adams, author and researcher

- NZ Herald

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