The Terms of Reference for the Committee can be viewed below or downloaded in either Word or pdf formats:


1. The Family Violence Death Review Committee (the Committee) is a Mortality Review Committee, appointed under section 59E of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 (the Act) by the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission). The provisions of Schedule 5 to the Act apply in relation to the Committee (s59E of the Act).

2. The Committee is a ‘statutory advisor’ to the Commission and is hosted by the Commission. The role of the Committee is to independently perform its functions, within the parameters determined by the Act and the budget and scope set by the Commission.


3. The functions of Mortality Review Committees are set out in section 59E (1)(a) and (b) of the Act.

4. The Committee is required to work within their agreed work plans and budgets to:

a. review and report to the Commission on deaths that are within the Committee’s scope, with a view to reducing deaths and to supporting continuous quality improvement
b. advise on any other matter related to mortality that the Commission specifies in writing
c. develop strategic plans and methodologies that are designed to reduce morbidity and mortality and are relevant to the Committee’s functions
d. give effect to the Commission’s responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi by implementing Te Pou, Māori responsive rubric and guidelines and considering advice from Ngā Pou Arawhenua and other Māori stakeholders, to ensure that review methodology, reports and recommendations contribute to achieving equitable outcomes for Māori
e. share information with other MRC(s) if the disclosing MRC considers that:

(i) the information to be shared is relevant to their own functions and that of the receiving MRC(s); and
(ii) sharing the information with the receiving MRC would not be inconsistent with the protections set out in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act for information held by MRCs. 

Applicable provisions

The provisions of Schedule 5 to the Act apply in relation to a Mortality Review Committee (s59E of the Act).


5. The Committee will be required to consider family violence deaths and other mortality and morbidity as directed by the Commission in writing, or as specified within the Committee’s agreed Work Plan.

6. For the purpose of these Terms of Reference, family violence is defined as: any behaviour that coerces, controls or harms, an (ex) intimate partner and/or family member(s) by the means of deprivation, negligent treatment, isolation, intimidation, threats, violence, and/or causes them to fear for their own, or another family member’s safety or well-being. It can include physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and economic abuse, as well as neglect and exploitation. It includes children’s exposure to these forms of abuse and the effects of abusive behaviour.

7. For the purposes of these Terms of Reference a family violence death is defined as the unnatural death of a person (adult or child) where the suspected perpetrator(s) is a family or extended family member, caregiver, intimate partner, previous partner of the victim, or previous partner of the victim’s current partner, and where the death was an episode of family violence and/or there is an identifiable history of family violence.

8. The following categories of family violence-related deaths are excluded from this definition:

a. Non-family member bystanders or interveners
b. suicides
c. suicide-assisted deaths
d. deaths from chronic illness associated with family violence.

Expected Activities

9. The Committee is expected to oversee mortality review to ensure that relevant, evidence-based advice is provided to the Commission as quickly as practicable.

10. The Committee is expected to support the development and enhancement of systems to:

a. ensure the security of personal information referred to in clause 3 of Schedule 5 of the Act
b. provide the Commission with advance notice of media statements, public comment or publications
c. monitor the number, categories and demographics of deaths relevant to its functions and to identify patterns and trends over time
d. undertake or coordinate reviews locally as local quality improvement initiatives, for system and practice improvements to reduce avoidable perioperative mortality and as data collection systems for national review
e. analyse and use data collected to develop effective recommendations that are useful for policy development at a national level.

11. The Committee is expected to support the development and enhancement of positive working relationships, with:

a. existing Mortality Review Committees and the Commission, to ensure coordination and integration of functions and to minimise duplication, to improve efficiency and sustainability.
b. relevant government bodies.
c. relevant stakeholder organisations
d. the MRC Māori Caucus, Ngā Pou Arawhenua

12. In carrying out its functions the Committee is expected to ensure:

a. appropriate consultation (including relevant consumers) when developing methodologies to carry out its functions and disseminating its findings
b. any advice and recommendations comply with the laws of New Zealand
c. a plan for recommendation dissemination is made with the Commission (including publication), within agreed budgets.

13. The Committee is expected to submit a proposed three-year rolling Work Plan to the Commission by December of each year, for the following three financial years. If approved, budget will be assigned to the Work Plan. The Committee is required to achieve the Work Plan within the assigned budget.

14. The Committee is expected to submit an Annual Report to the Commission, which will include:

a. a summary of the Committee’s work
b. the Committee’s advice and recommendations
c. the Committee’s rationale for its advice and any relevant evidence and/or documentation.


15. The Committee will have a maximum of eight members, which will include a range of the following expertise:

a. One member will have relevant lived experience, will provide a lived-experience perspective and be well networked to consumer groups.
b. The other seven members will have expertise that includes the following:

i. members with expertise in mortality review systems
ii. members with expertise in legal (criminal and family), medical, indigenous, social science and/or health research and practice
iii. members who are experts in the field of intimate partner violence
iv. members who are experts in the field of child abuse and protection issues
v. members with knowledge of, or experience in, service provision or operational policy in the social sector, including family violence services
vi. members with knowledge of family violence issues from a service user/family perspective
vii. Māori members with knowledge of family violence issues, or experience in working with Māori whānau affected by family violence
viii. Members of other ethnic groups with knowledge of family violence issues, or experience in working with families affected by family violence.

16. The Committee will be assisted by advisors from relevant agencies and organisations. This will enable information, expertise and advice to be available to the Committee, so that the Committee’s discussions and debates are fully informed. The advisors are accountable to their organisation, and are not members of the Committee. The advisors will be nominated by the Chief Executive of the organisations.

17. The Committee may appoint sub-groups or establish working parties relevant to its agreed workplan and it may co-opt expertise as necessary to assist any sub-groups, within its budget.

18. The Committee may appoint ‘agents’ to assist it to collect information relevant to the performance of any of the Committee’s functions.

19. The Committee is expected to self-determine its operations, with the advice of the Secretariat and within budget.

a. Co-option of additional expertise can be made within budget (to the committee or to working groups of the committee), but co-opted members will not have voting rights and will not be entitled to membership fees.
20. Chair and Deputy Chair
a. The Commission will appoint a Chair and a Deputy Chair or Chairs to the Committee. The Chair is expected to preside at every meeting of the Committee at which he or she is present, unless he or she appoints one of the Deputy Chairs to preside.
b. The Chair of the Committee (or a Deputy Chair) is expected to attend regular meetings of all the Mortality Review Committees’ Chairs (“Chairs’ Meetings”) to ensure cooperation and integration across Committees wherever possible, and the best allocation of limited resources.
c. The Chair of the Committee (or a Deputy Chair) will be required to meet with the Commission, on request.
d. The Chair of the Committee (or a Deputy Chair) may be required to attend other Committee meetings at the request of the Commission.

21. Managing Conflicts of Interest

a. Members must perform their functions in good faith, honestly and impartially and avoid situations that might compromise their integrity or otherwise lead to conflicts of interest. Proper observation of these principles will protect the Committee and its members and will ensure that it retains public confidence.
b. When members believe they have a potential conflict of interest on a subject that will prevent them from reaching an impartial decision or undertaking an activity consistent with the Committee’s functions, they must declare that conflict of interest and withdraw themselves from the discussion and/or activity.

22. Confidentiality

a. The maintenance of confidentiality is crucial to the functioning of the Committee.
b. Members must note the statutory requirements in section 59E(6) of the Act, which prevents disclosure of information of the kind described in clause 3 of schedule 5 of the Act.
c. Under this clause, information means any information that is personal information within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Privacy Act 1993; and that became known to any member or executive officer or agent of a Mortality Review Committee only because of the Committee’s functions being carried out (for example, because it is contained in a document created, and made available to the member or executive officer or agent, only because of those functions being carried out), whether or not the carrying out of those functions is completed.
d. Members must note that the disclosure of information contrary to schedule 5 of the Act is an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 (s 59E(6)).

23. Meetings

a. Meetings will usually be held in Wellington. Actual and reasonable expenses for activities required by the Committee of its members (e.g., travel, accommodation, literature searches) will be met from the Committee’s budget provided prior approval is received.
b. The timing and frequency of meetings is to be coordinated with the Secretariat to fit within the allocated budget.
c. The Committee will regulate its own procedures, according to State Services Commission requirements and guidelines and ensure that a record of decisions is maintained.


24. The Commission employs staff to assist the Committee, funded by the Committee’s allocated budget. The Committee is expected to work constructively and cooperatively with the Secretariat, and vice-versa

25. The Secretariat provides:

a. expert subject matter knowledge and expertise, policy analysis and analytical support
b. guidance on governmental and ministerial processes
c. budget management, contract management and service procurement support to assist the Committee to achieve its work plan within its allocated budget
d. central communications systems support for correspondence and public relations purposes, including secure communication between Committee Members and Agents
e. liaison on behalf of the Committee within and across government and non-government organisations
f. administrative support to organise, minute and follow up on committee meetings and/ or working groups as agreed within the work plan and within the budget set.
g. additional support for the Committee to carry out its functions, as agreed and budgeted for in the work plans.


26. These terms of reference will be reviewed three years from the date at which they are approved by the Commission.

Last updated 19/11/2020