Three issues critical to the delivery of services were raised by providers:
Funding for victims.
The development of better co-ordination including a more strategic and holistic response.
To better understand how family violence services are funded, the Circuit Breaker project was launched during 2003/2004. This is a joint initiative by the four central government agencies which are the major funders of action against family violence in the district: Child, Youth and Family; the Ministry of Justice; the Department of Internal Affairs; and the Department of Corrections.
In addition to their own service delivery budgets (and excluding spending on programmes targeting elder, child and sexual abuse), these agencies collectively spent $298,000 on family violence programmes in Tauranga in the year ending June 2004. This was an increase from $205,000 in 2002. The previous graph does not show the funding from ACC, which is increasingly purchasing individual counselling for victims of domestic violence, or the DHB’s funding for victims of domestic violence.
One of the difficulties highlighted in the Circuit Breaker report is that the funding stream from the Ministry of Justice/Family Court, although well resourced, is limited to families who have protection orders. Only a small proportion of all families affected by family violence use the court protection system, and there is a low uptake of recovery programmes offered to victims using that process.
Victims of family violence seeking services are more often referred by schools, health services, Child, Youth and Family or self-referred. These sorts of referrals do not come with specific funding and agencies rely on generic Child, Youth and Family “non-mandated funding”. This funding is regarded as inadequate, and organisations need to fundraise separately for the balance, causing sustainability issues for the agencies.
Community groups support better screening for family violence by government agencies, such as the DHB and Work and Income; but they fear resources will be inadequate to cope with the extra volumes of referrals. There is a strong demand for a whole-of-government approach to the issues of family violence, particularly to improve screening and awareness, and for the funding and monitoring of services for victims.
The second service gap all providers identified is emergency accommodation for families in crisis. The Tauranga Women’s Refuge has only four rooms, and it serves as a safe house for a much wider area than just the Tauranga District. There is also a need for transitional housing to give families more time to re-establish their living arrangements after they leave a violent relationship. During 2005/2006, the Salvation Army has been engaged in research into the emergency and transitional housing needs of families in crisis, including those affected by family violence. That work is ongoing and is focused on temporary housing rather than emergency housing.
The third key area of need for Tauranga’s family violence services is a more co-ordinated approach to changing the patterns of violent behaviour and to delivering services. Unlike neighbouring centres with their traditionally strong community-owned networks, Tauranga