A report into the effectiveness of a family violence programme shows a 48 per cent reduction in children witnessing or being exposed to family violence.

The report, released today, looked at the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) programme which was piloted in Christchurch and Waikato in 2016, and was given $30 million in Budget 2019 to continue through to 2021.

ISR is a multi-agency project designed to ensure the immediate safety of victims and children, and to work with people who use violence to prevent it from happening in the future.

It has dedicated staff, daily risk assessment and triage, and family safety plans.


The report said it was too early to say whether ISR's short-term safety responses has led to a reduction in family violence, but families reported feeling safer and more connected to support networks.

"Nevertheless, some indication of reduced rates of family violence behaviour following ISR were found," the report said.

These included reductions in self-reported exposure to all forms of family violence, including victims' experiences of physical harm, and children witnessing family violence.

"Particularly encouraging is a 48 per cent relative reduction in children witnessing or being exposed to family violence," the report said.

Māori victims in ISR sites also had significantly lower rates of repeat reported family violence offending against them, compared to a control group.

A cost-benefit analysis found the avoided social cost of family violence to be 3.2 times higher than the cost of ISR, which was just over $5 million per site per year.

Police Minister Stuart Nash was pleased with the report.

"The evaluation has found people feel safer, are better connected to support networks and agencies, and are increasingly enacting their own safety plans and keeping themselves safe.

"The ISR pilots are just one part of a wider all-of-government response that is needed to tackle family violence."


Justice Under-Secretary (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) Jan Logie said ISR was making a positive difference for many families.

"We want to keep doing what works in these communities, and build on what we've learned."