Shine bolsters community response to family violence

New Zealand’s ability to respond to family violence at the grass roots level has received a boost with the launch of a new training programme - Shine RESPOND.

Aimed at community professionals such as social workers, counsellors and practitioners, the training is provided by specialist family violence response service, Shine.

The initiative is designed to fill a gap in the sector by ensuring New Zealand’s front-facing professionals are well equipped to respond effectively and safely to people experiencing family violence.

Shine RESPOND team leader Marg Fitzgibbon says there is an urgent need for specialist training and ongoing professional development for those responding to the severity and complexity of family violence situations. Police now get a family violence call for help every three-and-a-half minutes.

“However, we frequently hear through our clients that they have received unsafe and unhelpful responses when they have reached out for help, which has then alienated them from seeking the assistance that they need,” Fitzgibbon says.

“Protracted COVID-19 lockdowns have escalated the extremes of violence. Shine RESPOND is designed to help people recognise the complexity of these situations and respond appropriately.”

Fitzgibbon says the Shine RESPOND training programme has been developed and designed with the insight and experience that comes from 30 years of working first-hand with people experiencing family violence.

The training caters for community professionals with different levels of knowledge and experience and can be delivered throughout New Zealand either in-person or online.

Training includes general awareness, introductory sessions, foundational skills for intervention, and advanced specialist topics such as working with people who use violence and children who have been affected by violence.

Fitzgibbon also says Shine RESPOND aligns closely with Te Aorerekura, the Government’s recently released National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

“Part of the strategy involves working in partnership with communities to ensure improvements as well as creating skilled and competent workforces that can provide integrated responses.

“Shine RESPOND directly works towards enabling a community approach by providing training to those community professionals working with people experiencing family violence.”

To find out more about Shine RESPOND training visit:

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