New Provisions Need To Be Funded in Family Violence Legislation

Te Puna Ora O Mataatua supports the new provisions for victims of domestic violence. Providers need to be funded to implement changes required.

TE PUNA ORA o MATAATUA

1. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, est. 1991, is a Charitable Trust based in Whakatane. It provides a broad range of integrated health and well-being services using a kaupapa Māori framework across Mataatua rohe.

2. It has a staff of 23 FTE and over 180 support workers.

3. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua services include Whānau Ora, Social Housing, Mama and Pēpe, Kaumatua, Whānau Health Promotion and Home Based Support Services. It manages the Whakatane Medical Practice (Med Central) based in Kopeopeo.

4. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua also has Lead Professionals working with Vulnerable Children and has a senior staff member that sits on the Eastern Bay of Plenty Children’s Working Team Referrals Panel.

SUMMARY OF POSITION

5. Te Puna O Mataatua supports the following matters provided for through the Bill:

(a) The intent to break the pattern of family violence and reducing the harm and cost inflicted on those who suffer violence and wider New Zealand society, including increasing access to risk and needs assessments and services, more accurately recording family violence offending in the criminal justice system and enabling the introduction of codes of practice.

(b) The greater emphasis upon victim safety.

(c) Ensuring those who need help do not need to go to court.

(d) Clearly identifying family violence.

(e) The three new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member.

(f) Making it easier to apply for a Protection Order.

(g) Making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing

(h) Ensuring the safety of victims is at the forefront of bail decisions.

(i) Enabling the setting of codes of practice across the sector.

6. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua is supportive of information sharing but the provisions need to ensure that it does not deter those in need of support from engaging with support providers such as Te Puna Ora o Mataatua.

Recommendations

7. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua recommends that:

(a) The Whānau Ora approach be expressly provided for in the Bill.  Whānau Ora is an approach that enables families and whanau to be self-reliant rather than dependent on State intervention.  Expressly provided for a Whānau Ora approach could take a number of forms including in assessment mechanisms.

(b) Priority given to prevention initiatives that are more likely to result in systemic positive change for whānau.  An approach that considers preventative measures will better assist the full range of services required to address New Zealand’s whānau violence issue.  The Bill does not currently provide for this focus but this does not need legislative change; it requires a shift in focus and funding priority.

(c) Kaupapa Māori approaches be implemented in restorative justice practices.  This requires a workforce that understands kaupapa Māori and can effectively kaupapa Māori based approaches in a restorative justice context.

(d) Funding for providers needs to be certain.  Particular providers, such as Te Puna Ora and the Māori Women’s Refuge, have proven track-records in assisting, and providing better outcomes for, Māori in this area.  These organisations should be appropriately resourced to continue providing the services they provide in any new context.

8. Te Puna Ora o Mataatua does not seek to be heard in support of its submission.

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