Services to address high rates of family and sexual violence are at times fragmented or duplicate what others are already doing, the Government says.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said a stocktake of taxpayer money spent on all family and sexual violence services indicated some of the estimated $1.4 billion of Government funding each year could be spent better.

Most of the money was spent on core services that deal with the aftermath of incidents, such as police callouts and injury treatment.

Only a small proportion is spent on specialist and prevention services.


The stocktake found that 41 per cent of police response time is spent on domestic violence

"We need to do more...that means taking a hard look at the way government agencies currently work together and what improvements can be made to help break the cycle of violence."

Ms Adams said the stocktake found that good work was being done, but there was some fragmentation and duplication of services.

A new family violence work programme, announced today, would try and address those issues through the development of a "whole-of-government" strategy to bring down rates of family and sexual violence.

The work programme will attempt to identify gaps and duplication in services and highlight services that were working well, "so that better investment decisions can be made".

Violent crime has not reduced at the same rate as the general crime rate.

Almost 50 per cent of all homicides are a result of family violence and many victims are re-victimised even when a protection order is in place.

Today's announcement follows other measures designed to address family violence.

Other initiatives include establishing a home safety service to help people who want to leave a violent relationship and the role of a Chief Victims Advisor to provide advice to Ms Adams about victims' experiences in the justice system, and a review of family violence legislation.

There will also be an overhaul of the Evidence Act to offer more protection to child witnesses and sexual violence victims.

The Evidence Amendment Act passed its first reading this month. It creates a presumption that child witnesses give evidence through the video of their police interview, by closed-circuit television or from behind a screen.

The Bill will also require that the defence gives notice before a trial begins if they want to introduce evidence of the complainant's previous sexual history with someone other than the defendant.

Last November, Ms Adams asked the Law Commission to resume work on an inquisitorial system for sexual abuse cases to save victims from aggressive questioning by adversarial lawyers.

Her predecessor, Judith Collins, stopped the work in 2012.