Monday, 7 October 2013

government inquiry on sexual violence services

i've only just heard that there is a parliamentary "inquiry into the funding of specialist sexual violence social services".  submissions apparently close this thursday, 10 october.

you can find a link to a pdf copy of the press release on the right-hand sidebar of this page.  it gives the terms of reference of the inquiry:

The terms of reference for the inquiry are to review:
  • the state of specialist services and determine whether they reflect an integrated approach to service delivery, full coverage, and best practice
  • specialist services, including those for Māori and other diverse ethnic communities, and assess whether they are accessible, culturally appropriate, and sustainable.
i wouldn't have thought there was a need for a full inquiry to know that sexual violence services are grossly underfunded, and have been for many, many years.  there's some good information in this article, which tells us about the inquiry into funding that has already been done:

These funding issues were investigated in 2007 when the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence was set up to advise Government on how to prevent and respond to sexual crime.
The Taskforce’s 2009 report recommended “effective funding of front-line services for victims and offenders”, immediate changes in the justice system, and a coordinated response to the problem from “across the social, health, education and justice systems in partnership with the community sector”.

and look at this: you can still download a copy of that report or even a summary of it from here (see box on right side).  one of the main points in the summary is:

ensuring a coordinated response as work continues across the social, health,ƒ ƒeducation and justice systems and in partnership with the community sector

and page 3 of the report has this:

Specific Taskforce projects have focused on understanding sexual violence from a Mäori cultural perspective. This work includes a case study of the Tiaki Tinana rape prevention education project; a stocktake of kaupapa Mäori and tikanga services; and Te Puäwaitanga o Te Käkano.

in fact, the only thing missing from the report, and it is a big omission, are the needs of "other diverse ethnic communities".  i don't know that there needs to be a whole commission of inquiry on it - maybe they could have consulted with ethnic communities to see what could be added to the 2009 report.  i have some ideas on that.

it seems to me that this inquiry is just the government trying to look like it's doing something, without actually doing something.  they've shown that they are not prepared to make the difficult decisions, especially around changes to the justice system.  while simon power was making progress in this area, judith collins made it clear when she took over the justice portfolio that she wasn't prepared to make any changes.

neither have the government committed to decent funding for rape crisis centres.  if they had, wellington rape crisis wouldn't have needed to take funding from hell's pizza, and auckland sexual abuse help line would not have been close to shutting down so many times over the last few years.

still, i suppose we must play the game and put the time into resubmitting to this inquiry, re-doing work that has already been done.  long-time readers of the blog will remember the submission we put in from THM on the original inquiry.  i'll be submitting again, in the hope that there might finally be some concrete action, some minister that actually has the courage to bring about change.

if you're in hamilton, link house are doing a submission-writing workshop on thursday morning, specifically to help in writing submissions for this inquiry.  contact me at if you'd like further details.

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