3 September 2007 – The Press – Many beneficiaries reveal abuse

3 September 2007 – The Press – Many beneficiaries reveal abuse http://www.stuff.co.nz/4187788a11.html

Many beneficiaries reveal abuse
By PHIL HAMILTON – The Press | Monday, 3 September 2007

Thousands of beneficiaries are victims of domestic violence, according to new Work and Income statistics.

In the first year, Work and Income’s family violence intervention programme asked beneficiaries to reveal violence in the home.

Across the 11 Work and Income (Winz) regions there were 3817 disclosures until the end of June this year, with 339 in Canterbury.

Work and Income head Patricia Reade said a family violence co-ordinator had been put into each region, with no real idea of how many disclosures they would receive.

“We had no expectations around numbers,” Reade said. “We just wanted to ensure we were providing appropriate support around domestic violence.”

Reade said the number of disclosures, which were leaked to the Press, equated to just over one per cent of their total clients.

“In the context of total benefits (280,000) it’s not a big number.”

The programme was confidential, with just 1312 of the total number willing to have the information put on their record, she said.

The regional co-ordinators support frontline staff with training, mentoring and information on the range of services and programmes available.

When a person discloses family violence, the case manager refers them to services such as Women’s Refuge, Stopping Violence Services, Barnardos and Jigsaw.

Reade said Work and Income could make a significant contribution to reducing family violence and promoting the safety and well-being of clients and their families.

“Because family violence is a sensitive and personal issue, Work and Income provides a supportive and safe environment but respects the client’s choice about when and how they disclose family violence.”

Christchurch Women’s Refuge manager Annette Gillespie said the programme was proving to be a success. “One, in raising awareness; two, in making sure there’s a referral path; and three, for strengthening the relationship between our agencies.”

She said Women’s Refuge had noticed the increase in the number of referrals from Work and Income, but it was not known whether those women would have contacted Women’s Refuge themselves.

With the rollout of domestic violence screening at all public hospitals, Gillespie expected demand for Women’s Refuge services to rise.

“We would expect where there is the demand there will be greater resourcing.”

The programme began in all regions in June 2006, although it had been operating in Nelson, Canterbury and Bay of Plenty as a pilot.


“We would expect where there is the demand there will be greater resourcing.”

So these programmes will be resourced to meet the demand. Later, as in Sweden, they will then need to keep the demand up to keep getting the resourcing. Many good families who have used reasonable force to correct their children have been ruined by this policy in Sweden. Why will it be any different in New Zealand?


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