Our shared vision is for an Aotearoa/New Zealand wide family violence prevention and response system which is accountable, effective, sustainable, accessible, and just.
By “family violence prevention and response system” we mean all the parts of and laws and policies, practices and procedures which are responsible for preventing family violence and/or addressing it when it occurs.
When we say a “system which is accountable, effective, sustainable, accessible, and just” we mean a system which:
- Is promotes a consistent societal message that family violence, in all its forms, is unacceptable, unlawful and will not be tolerated;
- Subscribes to the notion that, in Aotearoa, violence is both gendered and a direct effect of colonisation;
- Acknowledges that the primary purpose is to account to and ensure the safety of victims/survivors of family violence;
- Embraces the understanding that accountability to victims/survivors and effectiveness are best achieved by a dual approach which BOTH holds the perpetrator to account (for example, through criminal processes) AND ensures the perpetrator has ample opportunity to confront, address and stop their own unacceptable and unlawful behaviours;
- Is centrally coordinated by government (horizontal coordination) but is guided and informed by the wider community, particularly those people and population groups most impacted by family violence (vertical coordination);
- Is sufficiently resourced in the long term to ensure that all parts of the system can operate effectively and in unison with all other parts of the system;
- Is capable of meeting people where they are and can respond and adapt to the needs of the individuals, families and whānau who access or may need to access it;
- Ensures that intervention is timely, fair and transparent.
Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga/National Network of Family Violence Services Incorporated recognises that family violence is “everyone’s business” and that everyone (including government and non-government instrumentalities and specialist and non-specialist agencies) has roles and responsibilities in relation to preventing family violence and responding to it when it occurs. Wherever possible, we are committed to working in partnership with all other parts of the system and collaborating with other agencies, networks and entities in addressing family violence.
Consistent with our kaupapa, pou and matapono, what distinguishes Te Kupenga from others is that we have specific responsibility for speaking to the “perpetrator narrative”. While almost all our member agencies today provide support and services to victims, perpetrators and their extended families and whānau, our whakapapa to men’s stopping violence services over thirty years, provides us with specific insight and experience in terms of that narrative.
The Perpetrator Narrative
- An effective family violence prevention and response system must always be focused on ensuring the safety of victims/survivors, their families/whānau and of accounting to victims/survivors when violence occurs;
- The most effective way of ensuring safety and accounting to victims/survivors is by preventing violence from ever occurring, and, if it does, ensuring that it does not recur;
- As such, an effective family violence system must have a consistent message that violence in all its forms is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and, when violence does occur, ensures that the system:
- Holds perpetrators to account for their violence; AND
- Provides perpetrators with appropriate and supported opportunities to alter their behaviours;
- Engaging in violent behaviour is ALWAYS a choice made by the perpetrator;
- While there may be multiple explanations for the behaviour of perpetrators, ranging from the systemic (for example, the nature of a patriarchal system, the impacts of colonisation) to the personal (for example, early exposure to family violence, mental health and addictions), none of those explanations detract from the position that violent behaviour is a choice made by the perpetrator;
- Explanations are useful to inform the type of supported interventions with the perpetrator which may be required to address and prevent violent behaviours but those explanations never excuse those behaviours;
- With skilled, timely, resourced and compassionate interventions, most perpetrators can be supported to make safer and healthier choices about their behaviour.
A family violence system which does not recognise, heed and invest in the perpetrator narrative is one which is destined to create more victims
THE mahi of the Network
Broadly, our work is to
provide effective advocacy, leadership and support to and for our members as specialist family violence services across Aotearoa/New Zealand
By advocacy we mean activities which seek to bring to fruition our vision. Advocacy activities may include (but are not limited to); promoting structural change through lobbying government and politicians, writing submissions designed to influence structural and legal reform, participating in consultation processes designed to inform systemic change, using media platforms to both highlight limitations in the current family violence prevention and response system and give voice to ideas and solutions in addressing those limitations and forming or joining alliances and coalitions with like-minded organisations to pursue our vision.
By leadership we mean being a trusted source of information, advice and ideas to achieve our vision. Our leadership activities may include (but are not limited to); undertaking and supporting research to inform the development of the family violence prevention and response system, developing and promoting best practice in family violence prevention and response services, promoting and showcasing the work of our members and using media platforms to deliver commentary.
By support for our members, we mean utilising our resources in ways which provide practical assistance to our members in undertaking their work. Our membership support activities may include (but are not limited to); providing advice and training to members, providing and facilitating communication and information sharing platforms, identifying and resourcing opportunities for collaborations between members and between members and other parts of the family violence prevention and response system, and identifying and sharing with members opportunities to enhance their knowledge, skills and organisational capacities in undertaking their work.
By “specialist family violence services” we mean those agencies which are members of (or eligible for membership of) Te Kupenga and which have as their sole or substantial focus, the delivery of services, programmes and other supports to people who are perpetrators of or impacted by family violence.
The Governance of our Network
Our members elect representatives to the Partnership Rōpū (governance board). This is made up of the Māori Executive Committee (3 members), which has oversight of kaupapa Māori services, and the Tauiwi Executive Committee,(3 members) which has responsibility for tauiwi (non-Māori) services. Across the Rōpū, there is equal representation of men and women. We liken the sides of our Rōpū to the two walls of a wharenui (meeting house): the walls rely on each other to stand. The Rōpū oversees and guides the day to day operations of our National Office. It is co-chaired by the chairs of both the Māori and Tauiwi Executive Committees operating on the requirement that where a decision cannot be reached by consensus, it must have both majority Māori and majority female endorsement.
Our National Office
The small kaimahi team of the Network operates a "virtual office" from different locations across Aotearoa. Their role is to pursue the vision of the network and implement its strategic plan. Currently we employ four part time kaimahi as follows:
Kaiarahi/National Advocate: Responsible for the day to day operations of the National Office and the advocacy activities of the Network
Kaiatakawaenga/Members Liaison: Responsible for supporting our members and providing a link between the members and the advocacy work of the Network
Pukenga Whakarongo: Respnsible for the development of the workforce of our member agencies with specific focus on supporting our kaupapa Māori members and Māori kaimahi
Āwhina Hangarau Pārongo: Responsible for maintaining the IT infrastructure of the National Office and the internal intranet for all members.
Funding for our mahi (work) is provided by the Ministry of Social Development, and the generosity of the Lottery Grants Board. Member agencies pay a small annual membership fee.