FVDRC welcomes announcement of Integrated Safety Response model

13 Apr 2016 | Family Violence Death Review Committee

The Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) welcomes the opportunities the Integrated Safety Response (ISR) model, announced today, brings to help protect victims of family violence.

In February 2016, the FVDRC published its fifth report. This included a call for agencies to take more responsibility for the safety of family violence victims, rather than expecting victims to keep themselves safe from abusive partners.

FVDRC co-chair Professor Dawn Elder says both government organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs) have a part to play in reducing family violence in New Zealand, but they are not currently as effective as they could be.

"Treating abuse as a problem that can be remedied solely by giving victims advice and leaving them to take action alone, or treating abusive people as being beyond saving, does not work," she says.

"Family violence is a pervasive problem in our society that has the potential to damage the lives of both direct victims and indirect victims, most commonly children. There are also profound effects on the lives of those using violence. Each agency involved in family violence management needs to improve their responses considerably but we also need to find better ways of working together if we are going to bring about change."

The ISR model is an opportunity for Government and NGOs to collectively change the way they respond. Part of the ISR model is an intensive case management process for high-risk cases; a recommendation from the FVDRC in its third report.

Recommendations in the FVDRC’s fifth report that are important for the ISR model, include ensuring practitioners:

  • proactively make sure victims are safe, and do not expect victims to keep themselves safe from abusive partners
  • provide long-term assistance to victims rather than one-off safety advice
  • have a strong focus on the person using violence, in addition to the victim – as changing the behaviours of those using violence is the most effective way to prevent family violence
  • ensure the wellbeing of children is a paramount consideration.

Prof Elder is encouraged by the willingness of agencies to work in a more integrated way.

The success of the ISR will be reliant on:

  • integrating the way services work together, and also with child and adult victims, those perpetrating violence and their families and whānau
  • maintaining that safety for victims and their children is achieved by our collective focus on the people using violence and sustaining their behaviour change
  • preventing family violence by changing our collective response  each disclosure is an opportunity for us to step up and take protective action.

Last updated 13/04/2016