More on family violence proposals

During the week the Government announced proposals aimed at addressing and reducing family violence – see The Government’s most important policy – family violence.

Yesterday Justice Minister Amy Adams was interviewed on The Nation about it.

Justice Minister Amy Adams speaks to Lisa Owen about her family violence law reform – does it go far enough? 

Interview: Amy Adams

The Nation repeats at 10 this morning.

Q & A is also interviewing Adams (TV1 9:00 am).

Justice Minister Amy Adams talks to Greg Boyed about her family violence reforms announced this week. Will they make a difference to our high rate of domestic violence?

And he also asks whether she agrees with calls to keep 17 year olds in the youth court – is it time to raise the age of youth justice?

Our panel includes Justspeak spokesperson Julia Spelman, Graham Barnes from the domestic violence charity Shine, lawyer Stephen Franks and political scientist Dr Jennifer Curtin.

This is an important issue – family violence has serious implications for relationships, children, health, education, crime, employment – it’s effects are widespread and insidious.

One positive is there is general Cross party support for family violence proposals.

However Labour’s family violence spokesperson has taken a swipe at the Government: Labour: Community agencies needed to reduce violence

The Government is being accused of leaving frontline agencies out of the picture when it comes to tackling family violence.

Only a small portion of a $130 million package to reduce violence in Kiwi homes will go to non-government organisations like Women’s Refuge.

Labour’s family violence spokesperson, Poto Williams, says that’s not good enough.

“I’m really concerned that the minister has completely missed the boat,” says Ms Williams. “You cannot take just a justice response to this or just look at introducing new laws.”

Ms Williams says it will be impossible to eliminate family violence without community agencies.

She says Justice Minister Amy Adams is being too simplistic.

“The only way that people are actually going to eliminate violence from their lives is to have community agencies and NGOs working alongside them for the long term.”

Ms Williams says a multi-layered approach is needed to the issue, rather than just focussing on law and order.

There is already a ‘multi-layered’ approach, with the Government looking at bolstering some aspects of that.

If more effective ways of preventing and reducing family violence are successful then ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ agencies should be needed less.

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16 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  18th September 2016

    Just watched Amy Adams on Q&A on TVOne+1 with Greg Boyed. Very polished performance. She certainly seems on top of her Portfolio in terms of being well-briefed and able to answer questions without repetition, hesitation, or deviation.

    Look forward to the forthcoming announcements about how much they will be spending on the various agencies who work with violent offenders and victims trying to change offender behaviours.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  18th September 2016

      The question is Gezza, how many of these reforms will carry through,or be kept, should Labour gains power?

      Reply
  2. patupaiarehe

     /  18th September 2016

    If more effective ways of preventing and reducing family violence are successful then ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ agencies should be needed less.

    I’ve heard it said that “An ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure”. IMHO the underlying cause of violence is stress. So the real question, is how can we reduce stress for the average Kiwi?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  18th September 2016

      The average Kiwi doesn’t indulge in family violence. It’s the 10% that do you have to reach.

      Reply
      • patupaiarehe

         /  18th September 2016

        Yes Alan, obviously the majority of us deal with stress without lashing out. I wonder where the extra money to fund the anti-violence spending is coming from? Perhaps from the extra revenue gained by the recent increase in excise tax…

        Reply
      • Joe Bloggs

         /  18th September 2016

        Between 33 to 39% of New Zealand women experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to a study by Janet Fanslow and Elizabeth Robinson
        https://womensrefuge.org.nz/domestic-violence/

        30 per cent of women internationally are estimated to experience physical or sexual partner violence. That’s a third of the female population. That is reflected in New Zealand
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11634543

        1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual abuse from a partner in their lifetime

        Click to access MSD-AoG-14982-Domestic-Violence-Infographic-POSTER-A2-V4-PRINT.pdf

        and so it goes…

        If you really want to climb into the sewer of social ills in this country go to the Family Violence Clearing House website ( http://www.nzfvc.org.nz ) and read the publications and the statistics.

        We’ve got the highest reported rate of intimate-partner violence and child abuse in the developed world and our police believe that what’s reported is only 1/5 of all family violence incidents. And it stretches across society: according to the Crime and Safety surveys, Māori women, sole mothers, unemployed women and/or on benefits, single, divorced or separated women and women living with flatmates all experience higher rates of violence.

        We underestimate the scale of the issue when we say things like this is a problem with 10% of Kiwis.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  18th September 2016

          Ok, I did:

          Summary: This journal article reports the findings of a study using a longitudinal research design with an unselected birth cohort (n = 980, 24-26 years) to test three hypotheses: Can intimate partner violence with “clinical” consequences, or “real” abuse, be detected in community samples; is this abuse gender mutual; and is it “psychopathological”. Participants were members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. The study tracked a representative birth cohort of 1,037 young people (52% male, 48% female) at the following assessment points: 3 years (n = 1,037), 5 years (n = 991), 7 years (n = 954), 9 years (n = 955), 11 years (n = 925), 13 years (n = 850), 15 years (n = 976), 18 years (n = 930, and 26 years (n = 980). Five types of candidate risk were selected on which to compare groups who were in clinically abusive (n = 75), non-clinically abusive (n = 134), and non-abusive relationships (n = 746): family of origin characteristics, parenting, child behavioural problems, adolescent psychiatric disorders, and adolescent personality traits. The authors’ findings are that, in non-clinically abusive relationships, perpetrators were primarily women. In clinically abusive relationships, men and women used physical abuse, although more women needed medical treatment for injury. Women in clinically abusive relationships had childhood family adversity, adolescent conduct problems, and aggressive personality; men had disinhibitory psychopathology since childhood and extensive personality deviance. The authors argue that these findings counter the assumption that if clinical abuse was ascertained in epidemiological samples, it would be primarily man-to-woman, explained by patriarchy rather than psychopathology.–ADAPTED FROM THE JOURNAL ABSTRACT

          https://library.nzfvc.org.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=2116

          clinically abusive (75 of 955) looks more like 10% to me.

          Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  18th September 2016

      So the real question, is how can we reduce stress for the average Kiwi?

      Pat, you have touched on something. There are as many answers to that question as there are unique combinations of three words, or 3m squares on the earth’s surface. But there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to the problem of stress as it takes so many forms and only in a small minority manifests itself in violence. These people are predisposed to violence through their upbringing and other environmental factors. This is something I have no control over. However if we are ever going to stop the cycle of abuse we must identify this group and stop them breeding. I believe we will eventually get to this position but we must first let decades of political correctness and social engineering run its course. Cheers,c

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  18th September 2016

        An unintended consequence of the anti-smacking law is that it is now problematic for school staff to ask kids if they are being or have been physically disciplined at home since it is immediately a criminal issue. Yet that would identify children most in need of intervention in order to break the cycle.

        Reply
        • Joe Bloggs

           /  18th September 2016

          For once I agree with you Alan, and maybe also a consequence of school staff being disempowered in many other ways as well.

          It’s not just the school staff who need to be empowered though – this is a problem that needs entire communities to mobilise and take ownership of stopping violence: extended family, friends, neighbours, local leaders, local organisations like churches, businesses, and local service agencies…

          But I woudn’t be honest to myself if I didn’t also say that we also need to look through a social justice lens at addressing the systemic inequalities that lie underneath much of our domestic violence – that’s where sustained movement will come from.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  18th September 2016

            That doesn’t square with the study results I just linked above, certainly for men who had disinhibitory psychopathology since childhood and extensive personality deviance.

            It seems clear the problem has little to do with your “social justice” and everything to do with immersion in bad culture and behaviour.

            Reply
      • @ Conspiratoor – “if we are ever going to stop the cycle of abuse we must identify this group and stop them breeding … but we must first let decades of political correctness and social engineering run its course.”

        If stopping selected people breeding, perhaps on the basis of some kind of ‘social profiling’, isn’t social engineering, what exactly do you call it?

        Or is there ‘good’ and ‘bad’ social engineering?

        I reckon you’re on thin ice here …

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  18th September 2016

          call it what you will. I have proposed a solution. What’s yours?

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  18th September 2016

            and yes, profiling is part of the solution to baby killing. I would be pleased to expand on this but first let’s have your solution. And please don’t insult me with the white man’s guilt thing

            Reply

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