The government is funding trials in Whanganui of a free service for handing over children visiting former partners in a bid to reduce family violence.

The pilot will assist 60 families over one year in Whanganui and Rotorua.

"The pilot offers a safe environment where children under parenting arrangements can be handed over without parents or caregivers having to meet," Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said.

Barnardos New Zealand has been contracted to deliver the service in Whanganui, and Family Focus in Rotorua.


It is a free service, initially available in cases where the Family Court has imposed protective conditions on a parenting order.

The parties may be referred to the service at the discretion of the court.

Funding of $704,000 from the Justice Sector Fund will support the implementation and evaluation of the pilot.

The supervised handover service is part of the government's $130 million Safer Sooner Family Violence reforms announced last year.

Child Contact Centres for supervised handover, where there is family violence, are used in the UK and in Western Australia.