Back: Phil Grimstone and Sarn Paroli, Levin Police; Barry Heal and Lisa Holgate, Levin Community Corrections; Sarah Elliott on behalf of Eve Fone, Oranga Tamariki; Carole Strydom, Levin Police; Bernadette Cranshaw, Oranga Tamariki. Front: Tracy Merson, HALT; Fiona Barker, Levin Police; Tracey Sinclair, Manawatu PrisonWorking together to be more responsive to episodes of family harm across the Horowhenua has earned a dedicated team from Corrections, Police, Oranga Tamariki and Horowhenua Abuse Liaison Team (HALT) a Corrections Bronze Award.

The Horowhenua Interagency Family Harm team is made up of staff from Corrections, Police, Oranga Tamariki and Horowhenua Abuse Liaison Team (HALT). The frontline team meet on a daily basis to discuss family harm incidents and develop a co-ordinated approach in response.

The response could involve referrals for counselling or addiction issues; referrals to whanau ora; working with families; developing safety plans, and holding family group conferences.

As well as looking at current incidents, the team also look to the future, and where relevant, visits are also made to soon-to-be released prisoners in Manawatu Prison who are returning to the area so they are clear about the Family Harm team’s expectations of them.

Addressing family harm is a key goal for the Lower North region says Corrections Lower North Regional Commissioner Paul Tomlinson.

“The Horowhenua Interagency Family Harm team has a co-ordinated approach and one of the benefits is its responsiveness,” he says.

“The team was formed because collectively they decided enough was enough.

“They wanted the Horowhenua to be a great and healthy place to live for everyone.”

District Manager Hati Kaiwai said the Family Harm Team evolved from a priority offender programme which started in Otaki in 2010. It still runs today and continues to show many positive outcomes for those who participate.

“The Family Harm Team wanted to intervene at the earliest possibility, be more responsive and more effective in the moment to people experiencing family harm”, he said.

The team formed in July last year and they meet daily.

“The team’s shared knowledge, resources and expertise in making decisions in a timely way is making a genuine difference to the Horowhenua”.

“Across each of our organisations we could not achieve individually what this team has achieved.

“Families previously involved in incidents are no longer tolerating family harm; they’re getting help to be better parents and partners; boundaries are clearly determined and expectations are set.”

Senior Sergeant Sarn Paroli from Levin Police said, “This is a fantastic example of agencies working together to improve outcomes for families. The team members are skilled, passionate and dedicated frontline practitioners and their collective impact is making a positive difference for victims of family violence, perpetrators and the children that are exposed to family harm in Horowhenua.”

In the New Year, Levin Community Corrections plans to partner with Police to deliver the “Loves Me Not” programme for young offenders who have experienced or witnessed family harm.

The Horowhenua Interagency Family Harm received their awards in front of family and colleagues at Horowhenua District Council.