10.33We note that the issue of funding of the sexual violence sector is being considered by the Social Services Select Committee as part of an inquiry into the funding of specialist sexual violence social services. Although funding does not fall within our terms of reference, we consider that it is appropriate to comment briefly on the funding challenges experienced by those in the sector, given that this in turn impacts upon their ability to address the support and service needs of sexual violence victims.
10.34We understand that community service providers consider that inadequate funding negatively affects the ability to offer a model of wraparound care. For example, funding can help establish and maintain community service providers’ channels of communication and cooperation. Another example is that greater funding allows service providers to advertise their services so that victims do not have to identify and locate service providers able to meet their needs. To the extent that victims have experienced difficulties in seeking help (including money spent, psychological fatigue, and time lost) they are then less likely to be inclined or prepared to engage in the justice system.
10.37The Law Commission has been told by community service providers that some staff contribute their own money and time to ensure victims are not left without support. The sector relies heavily on volunteers who donate their time free of charge to assist victims of sexual violence. The cost of these donated hours is not reflected in the current level of government funding to the sector. Furthermore there is no monitoring to ensure that this voluntary workforce is adequately trained to work with sexual violence victims and meet their support and service needs.
10.38There is a risk that funding deficits affect the comprehensiveness of the support that providers can offer. There are several examples of strong practice by community service providers in New Zealand, often based on models that have achieved significant progress overseas, yet funding shortfalls prevent those practices from being rolled out more comprehensively, in terms of being sustained and implemented throughout the country.
10.39Some community service providers (such as the HELP Programme in Auckland) provide support advocates to victims 24 hours a day so there is someone able to be with the victim when meeting with Police and during the medical examination. Yet, resources restrict the availability of support persons to a limited period, rather than this support continuing into and beyond the justice process (which can span several months and years). At the heart of wraparound care is the need for assistance to victims throughout the lifecycle of response and recovery. We consider that the issue of funding needs to be addressed by government to ensure wraparound care is provided for victims.
The portfolio analysis [of the Government’s current spend on family violence and sexual violence] raised some concerns… that:Cabinet Paper “Progress on the Work Programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence” (22 July 2015) SOC (15) 68 at .
- spending decisions are made without a view of the overall system
- the current “system” is therefore a default one, rather than a planned one
- there appears to be some duplication in roles and services
- spending is not always aligned with effectiveness in achieving outcomes or client need.