What change can improve the sexual violence support sector to better assist
victims to engage with the justice system?
11.3We have considered what change is required to ensure that support services wrap around the victim, to support the victim throughout the lifecycle of recovery (which may extend beyond the justice process) and to best prepare the victim to engage in the justice process. Improvements are needed to ensure victim support is accessible, ongoing, professional, informed, consistent, and designed to meet the support and service needs of each victim, and that it places every victim in the strongest possible position to be willing and able to engage with the justice system.
11.4Our analysis suggests that the best response to victims is not necessarily based on services that are centrally located; instead, it is the quality and accessibility of those services that are crucial. Quality can be defined in many ways but for the purposes of our discussion, and in turning to consider the wider victim experience in New Zealand, the definition of quality should include the victim’s engagement in a justice process. There is a crucial link between wraparound care and victim engagement with the justice system.
11.5We consulted on the desirability of a one-stop-shop model for New Zealand. While this model has enjoyed considerable success in overseas jurisdictions, it has been pointed out that the one-stop shop model might not necessarily be a good fit for New Zealand. Firstly, New Zealand’s many rural towns might not be able to sustain a resource intensive one-stop-shop clinic or premises (although transport could be provided to rural centres. For example depending on the availability of medical forensic clinicians on the West Coast at any given time, victims are frequently transported from there to Christchurch for medical forensics). Secondly, service providers will already have their own premises, management structures (where appropriate) and organisation and may not wish to be integrated into a centralised location. Thirdly, some victims seek help some time after the sexual violence occurred and may feel alienated by a centre that is designed to respond only in the immediate aftermath of sexual violence (for instance, if the services offered are not designed to meet the support and service needs of historic sexual violence victims). Fourthly, our consultation process suggests that service providers seek greater coordination across the sector, but do not wish to relinquish their autonomy to a centralised agency.
11.6Concern has been expressed by organisations such as TOAH-NNEST that there is insufficient funding in New Zealand to be invested into a one-stop-shop model despite the potential advantages of that model. Our preferred approach is therefore “utilisation and support of existing services, with additional funding to allow for a more consistent multi-agency approach”.
11.7Keeping in mind the emphasis on wraparound care, without necessarily centralising support services, we identify several key functions that need to be carried out in order to strengthen the quality of care provided by service providers and provide leadership in that field.