Government commits $320 million to tackle family and sexual violence

Jacinda Ardern said every year a million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence. - Photo: RNZ / Liu Chen

The Prime Minister has unveiled a plan to tackle family and sexual violence.

In an announcement this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government would commit $320 million over four years to what she called the first-ever joint Budget bid from multiple government departments.

The funding would provide further funding for Integrated Safety Response, a three-year police-led pilot, she said.

The scheme was set up in Christchurch and Hamilton by the former National government in 2016, and today's announcement meant it would be expanded to Gisborne, Counties Manukau and Kaitaia.

Under ISR, every family violence call to police is referred to a team of government agencies which share information, assess risk and then set up a safety plan.

A 24/7 sexual violence crisis support services will be established for up to 2800 children and young people every year, plus an additional 7700 adult victims and survivors from next year.

Ms Ardern said 1,000,000 people - including 300,000 children - were victims of family and sexual violence each year in New Zealand.

"It is a staggering figure and it's one that I absolutely believe that New Zealanders are utterly ashamed of and want us to invest more in this area.

"Tackling this violence is one of the most disturbing and most important long-term challenges that we have in New Zealand."

There would be changes to the justice system, including the use of video victim statements and specialist training for lawyers, she said. There would also be money for major advertising campaigns, intervention programmes and dedicated funding for a kaupapa Māori response to sexual violence.