Budgets are about priorities and choices. NZ is the worst country in the world for domestic violence, but the budget is going to ignore on-the-ground support organisations. Green Party MP Jan Logie calls out the Nats in this piece on Stuff:
Govt delivers ‘devastating news’ to Moko marchers, on funding for family violence
New Zealand has the worst rates of domestic violence in the developed world. … The most recent marches around the country after the killing of Moko Rangitoheriri were another call to action for the Government to do more to prevent domestic and family violence. The question is, what can the Government do?
It’s brilliant that this Government is reviewing the legislative response to family violence and is trialling a new crisis response model, but it also needs to properly fund Women’s Refuge to do the vitally important work of aiding and assisting women and families to get to safety. Providing the resources that these vital, on-the-ground services need to support families in the middle of a crisis should be a priority.
Governments have underfunded these agencies for years. I recently surveyed refuges around New Zealand to get a nationwide look at how domestic violence funding providers have been faring. The results were grim.
Of the 20 organisations, more than half have been forced to cut services and/or staff in the past 6 years due to a lack of funding. Nearly all said that there are needs now in their communities that they can’t respond to.
Hastings Women’s Refuge, an area where there have been several youth suicides related to family violence, has had their funding cut by over $36,000 over the last six years despite costs and demand going up.
Denying refuges the funding they need inevitably compromises the safety of women and children. The Government has made it clear that more funding for refuges will not be in this week’s Budget. This will be devastating news for those who just marched for Moko. Family violence is not inevitable. We can end it, but it’ll take action from all of us, including the Government.
WHERE TO GET HELP
• Women’s refuge crisisline: 0800 733 843
• Lifeline (open 24/7): 0800 543 354
• Depression Helpline (open 24/7): 0800 111 757
• Samaritans (open 24/7): 0800 726 666