$320m budget package to break family and sexual violence cycle

By D'Angelo Martin

A new $320m budget package has been announced to deliver more support services to the one million New Zealanders dealing with domestic and sexual violence every year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "Domestic violence and sexual violence has a shameful status in our nation." 

The government's well-being budget will allow victims to give video statements in court to reduce trauma and will aim to make organisations which deal with these issues more accessible. 

"There just hasn't been enough coordination across social development, ACC, education, health, justice, police. We need all of those groups to be moving together," says Adern.

A key issue for victims seeking assistance has been the problem of having to contend with too many agencies.

Adern says, "We're getting our act together so that those individuals have a better experience and actually, we are changing the outcome, we are breaking the cycle and that's what this package is about." 

Every year about one million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence, including almost 300,000 children.

Jan Logie, who is a current member of the Green Party, says "They want more support, in particular, for babies and children living with the trauma of family violence and sexual violence so that they don't end up hurting others in the future."

The budget package will also provide support for 24/7 sexual violence crisis support services for more than 2,000 children and young people a year, as well as 7,000 more adult victims and survivors.

Logie says, "If we want to break these cycles of violence we must start investing and ultimately that saves harm and saves cost in the long run".