Kia ora koutou,

Welcome to our newsletter which provides news about the Ministry of Social Development’s work programme to strengthen family violence and sexual violence services.

Published in Ministry of Social Development

In this update you’ll find information about:

  • Supporting older people to live free from abuse
  • Reminder – Whānau Resilience tender deadline
  • Sexual violence sector working group to expand
  • Funding boost improves sexual violence services
  • All sexual harm crisis support gaps now filled
  • Over 4000 people have contacted Safe to talk
  • Testing of new service for people issued with PSO
  • Speakers sought for sexual and domestic violence conference

Supporting older people to live free from abuse

We have started a new work programme to help ensure that older people can live a life free from abuse and neglect.

This will involve working with Elder Abuse Response Services (EARS) to identity what is working well and what improvements can be made.

As part of this mahi, we will be visiting a range of EARS providers in March to learn from their expertise and knowledge. This will be invaluable in helping us get a better initial understanding of the reality of providing EARS and the issues experienced by older people in different communities.

This will help us:

  • learn how the focus from prevention to intervention has impacted on the delivery of EARS
  • develop a prototype of a reporting feedback loop.

While we are visiting many EARS providers, unfortunately, we will not be visiting everyone during this initial stage. However, we will ensure there are opportunities for all providers to be involved at future stages.

Our aim is to work with providers to build a system that supports older people to live a life free from abuse and neglect.

Reminder – Whānau Resilience tender deadline

The opportunity to tender to provide Whānau Resilience Services closes at 1pm on 12 March 2019.

The funding is aimed at enabling service providers to offer long-term support that is flexibly available for whānau to establish or re-establish a life free from violence, and become resilient to the patterns of behaviour that can lead to violence.

The services will be nationally procured and regionally co-designed to better enable communities and whānau to inform the services that are designed.

The Registration of Interest (ROI) is available on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) website. Various queries have been received and all responses are being posted on GETS.

The tender timeline is provided below.

Key dates 2019 Description
1pm 26 February Deadline for providers to ask questions
5pm 5 March Deadline for the Ministry to answer questions
1pm 12 March Deadline for proposals
April Evaluation of written ROIs
May Shortlist communicated with providers
May/ June / July Shortlisted provider regional group presentations – Exact dates to be confirmed closer to the time
August Outcomes communicated
August Contract negotiations
September Co-design commences

All enquiries about the ROI should be emailed to

Find out more about Whānau Resilience Services on our website.

Sexual violence sector working group to expand

Membership of the Sexual Violence Sector Working Group is being expanded to ensure it includes strong representation from a Kaupapa Māori perspective.

The independent sector working group was set up last year through a joint initiative by MSD and ACC to strengthen the support at a national level for the sexual violence sector.

The group’s role is to define what support the sexual violence sector requires and to design the ideal ways to provide this support.

Twenty sector representatives were originally selected from those who expressed an interest in participating in the working group and three meetings have been held so far.

In response to feedback from group members, the group’s membership will be expanded to ensure it includes a strong Kaupapa Māori perspective. The names of the new members will be published in our next newsletter.

We warmly acknowledge the work the group has done to date.

Find out more about this work

Funding boost improves sexual violence services

The funding allocated to specialist sexual harm services through Budget 2016 has increased the stability, certainty and availability of services, according to the first phase of an evaluation by Malatest International.

We contracted Malatest to carry out a three-year evaluation of services and it has just completed the ‘formative’ evaluation which describes the current state of the sector and changes that resulted from additional funding in Budget 2016.

It reports that funding allocated to specialist sexual harm services through Budget 2016 has had a positive impact on the sector.

However, a number of challenges to the workforce were identified in the discussions with providers, including a lack of specialist training for staff and workforce shortages, particularly Māori and Pacific counsellors.

The Sexual Violence Service Development team and Malatest International thank all the people who took the time to contribute to this stage of the evaluation. Your input and discussion throughout has been extremely valuable.

The next phase is a process evaluation. Malatest International will provide MSD with reports every six months until June 2021. The first report is expected in March 2019.

View the formative evaluation here

All sexual harm crisis support gaps now filled

All the geographical gaps in the delivery of sexual harm crisis support services have now been filled following the contracting of services in the last two districts.

In July 2018 we confirmed that a number of geographical gaps in the delivery of sexual harm crisis support services had been filled.

However, following that process there were still two districts requiring a provider to deliver these services – Otorohanga and Waitomo.

We have now confirmed Bay of Plenty Sexual Abuse, Assault and Support Services (BOPSASS) will deliver a sexual harm crisis support service in these districts.

This means all the funding received through Budget 2016 for filling service gaps has now been allocated as intended.

Over 4000 people have contacted Safe to talk

Over 4000 people have contacted Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora through phone, webchat, text, SMS and email since it began as a pilot service in Canterbury in February last year.

People have contacted the helpline for a range of reasons, from getting support for themselves and information on how to support others, through to general information and resources on sexual harm.

The monthly Safe to talk dashboard is proving useful for showing trends over time. For example, there was a noticeable increase in people contacting Safe to talk during the Christmas and New Year period. We will continue to publish the monthly dashboard on our website.

View the latest Safe to talk dashboard

In the meantime, the Safe to talk posters have been refreshed following the updating of the Māori translation of the helpline’s name last year.

Download the ‘We’re here for you’ poster (PDF 36.5KB)

Download the ‘I will not judge’ poster (PDF 27.42KB)

Download the ‘It’s not your fault’ poster (PDF 27.46KB)

Download the ‘It’s not our culture’ poster (PDF 27.43KB)

Testing of new service for people issued with PSO

Testing is being carried out on a new risk and needs assessment service for people issued with a Police Safety Order (PSO).

The test project will determine how the service will be delivered to ‘bound’ people. It is led by the Ministry of Justice, based on a prototype developed by a design team in 2018 comprising government representatives, NGOs, Māori and people with lived experience.

The goal of the new service is to enhance safety and support for families following a family violence incident, by working closely with the PSO-bound person to identify the cause of the violent behaviour and create a plan for long term behaviour change.

The service is being tested in three areas – Counties-Manukau, Hawke’s Bay (Hastings) and Christchurch (central) – before it is rolled out nationally in late 2019.

The service will be tested for six months from February to August 2019. It is expected that up to 450 participants will complete the service during that time across the three sites. The test phase will include an independent, formative evaluation which will be undertaken by Allen and Clarke.

For more information contact Project Lead Veronika Munro

Speakers sought for sexual and domestic violence conference

Proposals for speakers and workshop facilitators are being sought for the conference – ‘Challenging Conversations and Complicated Spaces: Titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua – Sexual and Domestic Violence Specialist Services reflecting forward’.

The conference is being organised by the National Coalition of Specialist Domestic Violence Service Providers in partnership with Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST). It is being held on 12 and 13 September 2019 at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Te Whanganui-ā-Tara (Wellington).

The kaupapa of this conference is sexual and domestic violence prevention and intervention. It will highlight and showcase the work of specialist sexual and domestic violence services, and aims to provide a platform to engage in kōrero to further improve responses, work together more effectively and create positive change for tamariki, wāhine, tāne and whānau.

If you, or anyone you know is interested in being a speaker or facilitator, please click on this link for more information.

If you have any queries, about sexual violence service development, please contact us at For queries about the family violence work programme, please contact us at

By Ministry of Social Development
Published in Ministry of Social Development
5 March 2019