Government agrees to overhaul sexual violence support services at budget
The Government has agreed to boost the funding it gives to specialist sexual violence services.
It today released its response to the recommendations of the Social Services Select Committee, following an inquiry into sexual violence services sparked by Green Party women's spokesperson Jan Logie.
It accepted all 32 recommendations to develop a coherent plan of response to sexual violence complaints.
Among those was the need for a national network of coordinated sexual violence social services to be developed, and significantly more funding to be invested.
But how much funding it was prepared to give would not be made public until the budget.
In the response, which was tabled in Parliament today, the Government said it "welcomed the committee's report".
It recognised the need to set up and maintain a "minimum level" of specialist sexual violence services throughout the country.
Logie said it was an "enormous win" for victims of sexual violence.
"It is a huge relief that the inquiry I initiated, with the help of the committee chairman Alfred Ngaro, will see real change in sexual violence services for victim survivors."
But it was a "wait and see" scenario to discover what was delivered in the budget.
"I look forward to a substantial budget increase in this year's Budget, and for the Government to collaborate with the sector to deliver a new model.
"While indications are good overall for the sector, the Government qualified their support for three important recommendations: accessible services, remuneration for staff, and strengthening existing kaupapa Māori services. I will be continuing to advocate for these crucial outcomes," she said.
Over the past few years, services like Rape Crisis and Women's Refuge had been forced to cut hours and reduce services because funding had been cut or not increased to meet demand.
The inquiry received nearly 1000 submissions and more than 100 people were heard by the committee over two months last year.
In 2014, the Government dedicated $10m over two years for services for sexual violence victims.
The Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence was set up later that year, led by Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
The group has already initiated a number of reforms within the courts and legal system. That includes a full legislative review, and inquiries into establishing a stand-alone set of family violence offences.
Tolley was overseeing a major overhaul of Child, Youth and Family as well as pushing a bill to establish a child sex-offender register through Parliament.