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Government to invest $320m into sexual violence support services for Wellbeing Budget

The Government is set to invest $320 million into family sexual violence and support services as part of a "major cornerstone" in the Wellbeing Budget, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

The budget package is expected to deliver more support services to more than one million New Zealanders; provide funding for major campaigns aimed at stopping violence from occuring; and create major changes to reducing the experiences of trauma victims, Ms Ardern and Parliamentary Under-Secretary Jan Logie said today.

"Every year, about one million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence, including almost 300,000 children," Ms Ardern said. "This is something I know New Zealand is ashamed of and the Government is taking a major step forward in fixing on the budget."

The family and sexual violence package, set across eight different Government portfolios, is the result of the first ever joint Budget bid from multiple Government departments, Ms Ardern and Ms Logie said in a statement. 

National Party leader Simon Bridges says the investment was the “right thing to do.”

He says he hopes the funding makes a difference.

“We started that work, it’s important work and it’s good to see the Government is there continuing it,” he said.

The package will include:

- Funding and support for one million New Zealanders covered by Integrated Safety Response sites in Christchurch and Waikato, and 350,000 by the Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke and Whiria Te Muka sites in Gisborne, Counties Manukau and Kaitaia.

- 24/7 sexual violence crisis support services for up to 2,800 children and young people every year, and an additional 7,700 adult victims and survivors from 2020-21.

- Video victim statements and alternative ways of giving evidence to reduce victims' time spent in court, reducing the risk of experiencing further trauma, and providing specialist training for lawyers working with sexual violence cases.

- Improve the wellbeing of male victims and survivors of sexual violence through support services

- Dedicate funding for a kaupapa Māori response to sexual violence

- Training for health practitioners in District Health Boards (DHBs) to provide effective screening and referrals for family violence.

"We know this is a long-term project. The package we’re announcing today lays the foundations for a violence-free Aotearoa New Zealand," Ms Logie said.

"The package announced today gives providers funding security, while making available significant extra resource to break the cycle of violence and provide more women, men and children the help they need."

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A total of $320 million has been put forward as part of the Government's Wellbeing Budget.