Agencies unite to stop family harm across region

A community-wide approach to keeping victims and children safe from family harm has proved so effective, it will be expanded to cover the whole of Canterbury from today.

The Integrated Safety Response (ISR) brings specialist family violence services from mainstream and kaupapa Māori providers together with dedicated staff from government agencies to improve outcomes for whānau and families at risk.

The ISR has been operating in rural Canterbury and Christchurch City since 1 July 2016 and in Waikato since October 2016. From today coverage in the Canterbury region will be expanded to include Mid and South Canterbury.

“ISR is making a positive difference for many families and whānau,” ISR Canterbury Director Leanne McSkimming says.

“Evaluations show that ISR is improving safety and reducing repeat victimisation, enabling better access to support services for families and whānau. For example, the number of children witnessing or being exposed to family violence was almost halved.

“ISR is a true multi-agency partnership ensuring interventions take a whole-of-family and whānau approach and puts their needs at the centre. Expanding ISR out to the wider region will support safe, consistent and effective responses to family violence in every community in Canterbury.”

The ISR model brings together Police, Oranga Tamariki, the Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, District Health Boards, Accident Compensation Corporation, Ngāi Tahu, specialist family violence non-government organisations and kaupapa Māori services to support victims and their families.

Key features of ISR include dedicated staff, funded specialist services for victims and perpetrators, daily risk assessment and triage (seven days a week), family safety plans, an electronic case management system and an intensive case management approach to collectively work with high risk families.

Results released from the second evaluation undertaken of ISR showed 88% of survey respondents believed ISR information sharing kept families and whānau safer, and 88% reported collaborative working and trusting relationships were “better” or “much better” with ISR.

“Before we implemented ISR, agencies were doing their best to support at-risk whānau and families however information and response were siloed. By working together we can get a much clearer picture of family harm for the victims, the perpetrators and the family. We can quickly assess the level of risk and co-ordinate our response to help keep whānau free from violence,” Ms McSkimming says.

Ngāi Tahu has been engaged in the development of ISR since inception.

“We knew that partnership and genuine collaboration could create a more connected support system that focused on what the whānau and families needed,” says Chair of the ISR Governance group and Ngāi Tahu representative Robyn Wallace.

“Reducing and preventing family harm is a priority for ISR. Making whānau and families safe in the initial period and then ensuring they have further support in place through their journey are pivotal steps toward this outcome.”

Everybody deserves to be safe and to feel safe. If you feel fearful or threatened, please reach out. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 111 to speak to Police. Women’s Refuge provides the support and information call 0800 REFUGE or 0800 0800 733 843. Men who feel they’re going to harm someone can call 0800 HEYBRO or 0800 439 276 to get help.

/NZ Police Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.