Perpetrators still denied help to change violent behaviours despite $203m funding boost

Media release, May 11, 2020

Today’s pre-Budget funding announcement from the Ministry of Social Development, which included $142m over the next four years to fund services supporting victims of family violence and $16m to help stop perpetrators, has been welcomed by the National Network of Family Violence Services.

However, while celebrating the long-overdue funding, Merran Lawler, Kaiarahi (General Manager) of NNFVS (Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga) says there is still work to be done to fund crucial mahi with the perpetrators of violence.

“It is disappointing that less than 10 per cent of the total funding of $203m has been allocated to services which are designed to stem the flow of violence by working with perpetrators,” Ms Lawler says.

More than 24,000 victims and survivors of family violence and elder abuse support services will benefit from the funding injection, yet only 1500 more people who use violence will be funded to receive the help they need to prevent creating victims in the first place.

While a $16m increase over four years is encouraging, it is still a significant shortfall on what is needed to address the causes of violence and create behavioural change. The severe underfunding of crucial perpetrator support services was also highlighted in the recent Men Who Use Violence report by the Family Violence Death Review Committee, Ms Lawler says.

Further government action is necessary to ensure that every perpetrator can access the help they need to address their violent behaviours, Ms Lawler says.

“It beggars belief that every day, specialist perpetrator services across the country turn away people who seek help to change their violent behaviours because there is no funding available to support them. That is, sadly, not likely to change despite the welcome increase in family violence funding generally.”

Costs on specialist family services a welcome relief
The further investment into generally funding specialist family violence services for basic running costs and professional development is welcomed by the sector.

“The funding will help relieve cost pressures on current specialist family violence services, and is a long overdue recognition of those who work in the sector, which has been typified by long hours, low wages and sometimes no payment at all,” Ms Lawler says.  

“The focus on funding to support those services in being able to attract and retain specialist family violence practitioners, and to provide them with solid professional development and supervision, is an important consideration in addressing New Zealand’s high levels of family violence.”

For further information and to interview Merran Lawler, 
contact [email protected] or 027 231 5970.

Read about the work our members do with perpetrators here.