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Families grappling with violence will be able to avoid contentious meetings during children handovers thanks to a new pilot launched by the Government.

“In the absence of funded supervised hand-over services, some victims of family violence risk continued exposure to violent and abusive behaviour as they facilitate their children’s contact with an ex-partner,” says Ms Adams.

“This behaviour not only affects adults, but may also have a significant detrimental impact on children. The pilot offers a safe environment where children under parenting arrangements can be handed over without parents or caregivers having to meet.

“This Government is unashamedly focused on vulnerable children. We know that children are affected by conflict between their parents and that there is a risk of incidents when children are transferred from one parent to the other. The supervised handover pilot will reduce this risk and help parents safely hand their children over,” Mrs Tolley says.

The supervised hand-over service is part of the Government’s $130 million Safer Sooner Family Violence reforms announced last year.

The pilot will assist 60 families over one year in Rotorua and Whanganui. $704,000 from the Justice Sector Fund will support the implementation and evaluation of the pilot.

It is a free service that will initially be available in cases where the Family Court has imposed protective conditions on a Parenting Order under section 51 or section 48 of the Care of Children Act 2004. The parties may be referred to the service at the discretion of the court.

Family Focus Rotorua has been contracted to deliver the service in Rotorua and Barnardos New Zealand in Whanganui.

Child Contact Centres for supervised hand-over, where there is family violence, are used in the United Kingdom and in Western Australia.

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