Working better together to prevent family violence

Working better together to prevent family violence

Eradicating family violence came a step closer today with the official launch of a merger between two of the country’s most prominent social service providers, effective 1 July.

Leading domestic abuse service provider Shine (Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday) will become a division of Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN), while continuing to focus on preventing family violence and helping adult and child victims to become safe.

By becoming part of the same organisation, Shine services will be better coordinated with PSN’s Family Works Northern service division, a move which will have a significant impact on family violence in the most densely populated part of the country.

The ‘Better Together’ merger was celebrated at a launch event last night. Minister of Justice Amy Adams spoke at the event about the importance of New Zealand getting a handle on the issue of family violence, calling it ‘a national disgrace’. She commented, “I am reflecting on celebrating the coming together of two wonderful organisations, in the knowledge that working together is always better than going it alone.”

Dr Rod Watts, CEO of Presbyterian Support Northern, says Shine will become a distinct operating division of PSN, and continue their unwavering focus on preventing domestic abuse.

“Family Works already works closely with Shine. This merge formalises the relationship to achieve more in preventing family violence and supporting victims. It allows us to consolidate our services to ensure a seamless continuation of support for victims, and more robust programmes.

“The aim is for more family violence victims to become safe, to support their on-going wellbeing and enable them to remain violence-free,” says Dr Watts.

Shine’s current Executive Director Jane Drumm will become General Manager of Shine after the merge.

Drumm says, “Domestic abuse affects far too many people in our society today. By improving our ability to intervene and support victims and their children, we’re looking to help establish safer and happier homes.”

Together, PSN and Shine will offer a range of services to adults, children and families experiencing (or perpetrating) domestic abuse. These include crisis advocacy for adults and children, refuge accommodation, client educative programmes, stopping violence programmes, social work, medium term counselling, budgeting and emergency food support.

A recent Productivity Commission Report highlighted difficulties for the Government in working with a high number of smaller organisations in the social services area, especially in domestic violence specialist services.

“By combining our resources and areas of expertise PSN will be in a better position to meet the needs of the most vulnerable,” Watts said.

Shine can now operate from Presbyterian Support Northern’s 11 Family Works service centres located around the upper North Island, allowing for more effective and cost-efficient service delivery.