The government has included specialist training for lawyers in sexual violence cases in the wellbeing-focused Budget 2019.
The training is part of the government’s initiative to invest more into family and sexual violence support services. The package is spread across five areas and totals $320m, of which $311.4m is new operating funding and $9.5m is capital funding.
“There has never before been investment of this scale in preventing and responding to family violence and sexual violence,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Every year about 1 million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence, including almost 300,000 children. This is something I know New Zealand is ashamed of and the government is taking a major step forward in fixing.”
“Wellbeing means being safe and free from violence. That is why this package is such a significant cornerstone of the Wellbeing Budget,” she said. “My goal has always been for New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child and that means supporting parents and communities to ensure children grow up in secure homes free from violence.”
The drive also includes changes to court processes, including enabling the use of video victim statements to reduce trauma. The government also wants to enable victims to give evidence in court in alternative ways.