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Short-term housing will be provided to perpetrators of family violence in the Waikato to help ensure victims are kept safe and can stay in their own homes, say Justice and Social Housing Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

“The Government is putting $1.1 million into emergency housing for perpetrators at the Integrated Safety Response pilot sites in Waikato and Christchurch, because evidence shows it’s better to remove perpetrators than to uproot victims and children from the family home,” Ms Adams says.

The Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project has this week been awarded the contract to provide the service in the Waikato. In Christchurch, the service has been running through Stopping Violence Services for six months, and has already provided emergency housing for 22 perpetrators.

The emergency housing is for perpetrators who have been served a Police Safety Order stopping them from returning to the family home for up to five days, but who don’t have anywhere to go.

“Perpetrators must voluntarily agree to the referral. It gives them the opportunity to cool down, accept help, and address their abusive behaviour, while ensuring that victims and children can stay safe in their own homes,” Ms Adams says.

Mrs Tolley says perpetrators who use the service will also be referred to the Integrated Safety Response pilots, in which core agencies and NGOs work together to create family safety plans tailored to the specific needs of each victim, perpetrator and family.

“The emergency housing initiatives demonstrate how the ISR pilots are maturing and evolving as we gather more information and understanding of what will make a real difference for families.”

Police Safety Orders were introduced in New Zealand in 2010, and allow Police to remove a suspected perpetrator of family violence from the family home and require them to stay away for up to five days.

This emergency housing funding is part of the cross-agency work programme overseen by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, which is committed to reducing family violence and keeping victims safe.

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