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Source: Human Rights Commission

The Auditor General’s audit of the Joint Venture into Family Violence and Sexual Violence (joint venture) has been welcomed by Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero. 

The Auditor General’s audit report Working in new ways to address family violence and sexual violence reviews how effectively the joint venture has been working. The formation of the joint venture was announced by the Government in September 2018 to work across 10 government agencies to reduce family violence and sexual violence. 

The report makes five key recommendations to ensure that the joint venture works more effectively in partnership with Māori, across agencies, and with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and stakeholders. 

“I am pleased that the Auditor General has recognised that the joint venture needs to invest significant time into strengthening relationships with Māori, NGOs, communities and other stakeholder groups,” Ms Tesoriero said. 

“The report is timely as it provides clear direction for agencies, Ministers and staff to adopt a collaborative approach to issues rather than reverting, when under pressure, to familiar, siloed ways of working.  I will be following the progress made to implement the recommendations.”  

Disabled people overall experience violence at twice the rate of non-disabled people, at least, and up to 10 times the rate for sexual violence against women and girls, according to international statistics. 

Māori have a higher disability rate than non-Māori and tāngata whaikaha are more likely to experience violence and abuse than non-Māori or non-disabled peers. 

“The work of the joint venture to reduce family and sexual violence is critically important to tāngata whaikaha and disabled people throughout Aotearoa. It is essential that the Auditor General’s recommendations are taken on board and the joint venture is resourced to succeed,” she said. 

Ms Tesoriero acknowledged areas of work where the joint venture had been effective including creating a deeper understanding of the challenges other agencies and NGOs face. 

“Those we work with in the Joint Venture Business Unit are highly committed to this important mahi. The joint venture and Government welcomed my feedback, some months ago, about the need for the meaningful involvement of disabled people and are building relationships within the disabled community.  

“The Human Rights Commission contributed to the Auditor General’s audit and will continue to work with the joint venture as part of our collective effort to reduce family and sexual violence. 

“One of my and the Commission’s priorities is to highlight the lack of appropriate and accessible support for tāngata whaikaha and disabled people experiencing violence and abuse.  This includes the lack of local data about the issue due to the general shortage of research into issues affecting disabled people,” Ms Tesoriero said. 

The joint venture consists of the following government agencies: the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Development, the New Zealand Police, Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.