A $76 million cash injection for frontline agencies dealing directly with victims and perpetrators of family violence has been welcomed by Tauranga social services.
However, a local foster care provider says while the funding is an important first step, it does not yet provide additionally for specialist services to children and youth who have witnessed family and sexual violence.
Through Budget 2018, the Government is allocating an extra $76m over four years to support the delivery of Ministry of Social Development (MSD)-funded family violence services for victims, perpetrators and their families.
Tauranga Living Without Violence general manager Liz Flaherty understood the service would receive some extra funding, but was unsure how much.
"It is really positive. Our funding around MSD contracts has been frozen for a while," she said. "We have had some increase, but that has come with an increase in referral numbers."
Flaherty said the number of self-referrals to Tauranga Living Without Violence programmes had increased in the past three to four years.
"We also get about 80 police reports a week," she said.
Flaherty was pleased funding would now be injected into community agencies.
"The new funding is focused on on-the-ground services which have been under-funded for a while," Flaherty said.
Homes of Hope chief executive Hilary Price said the children they cared for were often witnesses to or had been subjected to violence.
Price was pleased the Government had chosen to start with core services such as housing to enable a stable family environment.
"This is an encouraging indicator that the Crown indeed sees the needs and intends to continue to take measures to meet them," she said.
"It is an important first step, though it does not yet provide additionally for specialist services to children and youth who have witnessed family and sexual violence.
"The indicated increases apply only to MSD funded services. Focusing on essential restorative therapeutic services for children and youth has the potential to bring about lasting positive outcomes"
Price hoped funding to support children who have experienced family disruption could be considered alongside the announcement of an additional $21.5m for children with extra learning needs.
"The statistics tell us that it is still a major issue for the country to face," she said. "It is going to take a lot of investment."
In 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, the MSD will invest an extra $6.5m for family violence service providers that already have contracts with the ministry to provide direct family violence services.
Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said the extra funding will provide a boost to about 150 providers of family violence services nationwide.
"Additional funding in 2019/20 will enable these critical frontline agencies to expand into areas where there isn't currently any support or start addressing over-demand in existing services," she said.
Contract managers will contact all providers eligible for the funding increase in the next few weeks. Additional funding will be applied to contracts from July 1.
Services that will get extra funding:
- Family and whānau services, including longer-term recovery, counselling and safety planning
- Programmes for self-referred, non-mandated perpetrators of family violence
- Immediate crisis response and support services for victims of family violence (and their children, where present)
- Longer-term psychological recovery services for victims.
Services that will not receive extra funding:
- MSD-funded family violence helplines - These services are being considered separately as MSD works with the sector on the funding strategy
- Elder Abuse Response Services - These were redesigned and retendered in 2017/18 and will need to be reviewed before any additional funding is considered
- Family violence networks - These do not provide direct services. Current contracts will be rolled over for 2018/19
- Funding to support capability building in the family violence sector will not be increased because it is not used for provision of direct services. However, this will be considered in the work being done to understand what we can do to better support providers to respond to family violence
- Family violence prevention programmes
Source: Ministry of Social Development
If you're in danger now:
■Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
■Run outside and head for where there are other people.
■Scream for help so your neighbours can hear you.
■Take the children with you.
■Don't stop to get anything else.
■If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
■Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 — 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843
■Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day — 0508 744 633
■It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450
BUDGET 2018 PANEL
Jerusha Tucker - The marine studies student at Toi Ohomai
"I think there should be funds set aside to bring back kerbside recycling. I think it is hugely important, we need to take responsibility and recycle and reuse. I also want to see movement in a plastic-free New Zealand."
Monique Lints - Young family
"We have a young and growing family so I think those essential services like midwives, nurses and teachers need better financial support. They all play crucial roles - anything that helps with bringing our children up better is a good thing."
Gillian Buckley - Retirees
"I think the new winter power bill to help retirees stay warm and healthy through winter is brilliant. Our housing is also a huge problem - whoever thought there would come a time when there would be people living on the streets, in cars and in garages."
Paora Stanley - Maori voice
"Whanau ora, less continued monies for Maori funding to be delivered by non-Maori on Maori people, more money to support our city infrastructure, less on bureaucracies, innovative housing project monies for those in need that are achievable, wish someone would be innovative enough to fund swimming pools, less jails and more community policing and less on the frontline."