Southland agencies work together to reduce family violence

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today between Plunket, Awarua Social and Health Services, and Invercargill Police will see more positive outcomes for children and their families.

Plunket Area Manager Barb Long says that better communication of information between Police and providers of Well Child and Tamariki Ora services will see more support for the citys vulnerable families.

This is about reducing incidents of family violence and protecting our most vulnerable citizens from abuse – which has a huge impact on a childs development, particularly in the early years.

We are looking for a fence at the top of the cliff approach to the issue. The more collective information we all have available to us, the better the services will be when looking at the complete health of a child and their relationships with their family.

Invercargill Police Family violence co-ordinator, Sergeant Greg Baird says that the MOU will allow Police to provide more information to Well Child Providers about children and families that have been assessed by Police as needing extra help.

The main benefit to Police is that if families get the right kind of help when they find themselves in stressful situations which can lead to violence, it makes it less likely that we will need to be called in.

Informal relationships have been in place for some time. What the MOU does is formalise these relationships and provide a process for dealing with at risk families and support them to care for and raise their children safely.

Awarua Social & Health Services CEO Trish Young says the MOU will endorse a coordinated family services approach.

Family violence is a problem nationally and organisations like Awarua have the capacity to offer a comprehensive range of social and health services.

We have a responsibility to those family members who live with and endure family violence, especially our most susceptible children.

A similar MOU has been in place in Dunedin since 2009 and plans are in place for it to operate in rural Otago and Southland.

ENDS

For more information contact

Vivien Pullar

Southern District Communications Manager

NZ Police

03 471 4909; 027 556 1814 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 027 556 1814 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Vivien.pullar@police.govt.nz

Nikki Hooper

External Communications Executive

Plunket

04 470 4951; 021 405 842 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 021 405 842 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Nikki.hooper@plunket.org.nz

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