The focus on violence within families and relationships is a sad but recurring theme for those of us working in the social sector and on 7 June I attended the Family Violence summit hosted by Hon Amy Adams (Minister of Justice) and Hon Anne Tolley (Minister for Social Development).
The thought-provoking discussions ranged from strategies to improve the professionalism of the workforce, more consistent ways of responding to family violence and recognising that the system has plenty to learn from those closest to the situation. The challenge of government being a better partner, including funding and support for organisations working on-the-ground, and a focus on the wider picture of good health, education and employment opportunities for families emerged from the workshops I attended.
This month, Superu has published What works for children exposed to family violence?, which tells us that children who are indirectly affected by violence in the family are harmed just as much as those directly abused. The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse has produced research that points to a gap in the provision of relationship programmes for adolescents, and the need for support to help young people learn about safe and healthy intimate relationships.
Often research exists, but the challenge for the sector is to convert it into programmes and services that make a difference to people’s lives. Presenters at our Evidence to Action (E2A) conference on 19 June talked about their experiences of using research and evidence – together with sound evaluation techniques – to improve the outcomes for their communities, and to lead organisations that were continually learning.
It was a challenging and lively day of discussion and thinking and I want to thank all our attendees and speakers for their contributions. You can read all the presentations on our E2A web page, and videos wil be available soon.