Launched in May 2022, two family violence capability frameworks support organisations and workers to respond to family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand.

These frameworks provide information that offers a shared understanding of family violence and sets standards and essential knowledge to guide and support people and organisations to respond to family violence in safe and effective ways:

Eliminating family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand

The frameworks are the first step in delivering Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy and Action Plan to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. They are the first in a set of tools to help us achieve Shift 3: Towards skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces.

The frameworks reflect the enormous contribution made by the specialist family violence and sexual violence sectors to the safety, autonomy and wellbeing of tangata whenua and tauiwi, whānau and families, and diverse communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. They were developed collaboratively by people who work in the specialist sector including tangata whenua, and representatives of victim-survivors and diverse communities, and government.

The Joint Venture agencies will begin implementing the frameworks across their workforces.

Collectively, these frameworks build on the 2017 Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Violence Within Whānau Workforce Capability Framework(external link) (Ministry of Justice). They help organisations and workforces assess whether they can safely respond, strengthen and support healing, prevent further violence and enable the wellbeing of people impacted by family violence.

Who are these capability frameworks for?

Any organisation can immediately begin applying these frameworks. Below are general descriptions of generalist and specialist workforces. These descriptions give examples for who would find these frameworks useful and are not exclusive.

Generalist organisations and workforces are considered not to be specialist family violence service providers, but they may have frontline staff who interact with people who have been impacted by violence – including children and young people, and older people.

They can include – but are not limited to – people working in:

  • National and local government
  • Education
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Legal
  • Health
  • Trades

It’s important these workforces can respond to family violence and/or disclosure safely and effectively. This is so people can receive help where and when they need it, including anyone who is a member of those workforces.

Generalist workers, particularly frontline workers, need to know and understand:

  • The dynamics of family, and the impacts of violence on victim-survivors, including children and young people
  • The need to take a victim-survivor and family and whānau-centred approach that is strength-based, so they can respond, support healing and restore wellbeing
  • Aotearoa New Zealand’s diverse population, and how intersectionality can compound how a person experiences and copes with family violence and the response system. In the family violence context, intersectionality is where a person belongs to one or more groups experiencing discrimination and disadvantage.
  • How to respond safely and effectively to family violence under any circumstance.

Specialist family violence organisations, workforces and practitioners work towards eliminating family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. They play an essential role in providing safe, effective, and restorative services and responses to people impacted by family violence – including children and young people, and older people – and to people who use violence.

A specialist family violence response is one that comes from a highly skilled person with extensive training and experience working with family violence, and who is supported by an organisation with expert knowledge and practice embedded at all levels.

Specialist family violence organisations and workforces:

  • Carry considerable responsibility as dedicated organisations/practitioners working with victim-survivors and people using violence, and their whānau/family
  • Identify and manage the most extreme level of risk, and respond to high levels of need with respect to people’s safety and wellbeing
  • Have cultural expertise and cross-cultural literacy
  • Focus on addressing people’s experiences of structural and interpersonal violence
  • Work in a trauma- and violence-informed manner
  • Undertake leadership and system improvement roles requiring a range of knowledge and expertise, using a partnership and collaborative approach.

How to use the family violence capability frameworks

Information on how to apply or use these frameworks is available on page 42 of each document. Both frameworks can be used alongside each other.

The Specialist Family Violence Organisational Standards (SOS) help organisations understand what’s expected of them when providing services to people impacted by family violence.

It provides contextual information about the dynamics and impacts of family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. The standards focus on the quality of the service, scope of practice, and organisational capability to deliver safe and effective services.

Use the SOS to:

  • Reflect, evaluate, review, design and continually improve organisation structures, systems, processes and practices in safe and effective ways.
  • Promote safe, effective, trauma and violence informed, connected, and victim-survivor and whānau-centred generalist and specialist services.

Boards, organisational leaders, and funders are welcome to implement the SOS within their organisation.

The Entry to Expert Family Violence Capability Framework (E2E) framework can be used to guide and support family violence workforces to develop safe, holistic and effective practice. It provides contextual information about the dynamics and impacts of family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand, and standards for Entry, Essential, Enhanced, and Expert level capability.

Everyone can use the E2E – including frontline staff and volunteers, team leaders, managers, executives and board members in organisations, professional bodies and learning institutions.

Use the E2E to:

  • Support your organisation’s professional development planning or to guide your own professional development
  • Promote safe, effective, trauma and violence informed, connected, and victim-survivor and whānau-centred practice by generalist and specialist workforces
  • Guide career planning and determining professional development and training needs
  • Shape generalist and family violence specialist workforce training, and professional development programmes and qualifications, to align with the capabilities set out in the E2E
  • Support greater recognition and validation of the knowledge and skill of workers who respond to family violence in generalist and specialist settings.

Feedback on the family violence capability frameworks

If you have any questions or feedback on these frameworks or suggestions about how we can support people and organisations to use them, please contact us at

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