Consultation on information sharing guidance for the family violence sector

News article

03 September 2018

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill was introduced into Parliament on 15 March 2017. 

The Bill proposes to create new rules around sharing information for family violence agencies (specific government - the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards and non-government agencies defined in the Bill) and specific social services practitioners.

"The Bill will:

  • permit the family violence sector (including District Health Boards) to collect, use and disclose information for limited purposes
  • require the sector to consider sharing information if it may help protect a victim, or if they receive a request for information
  • provide immunity from legal liability and professional disciplinary processes for sharing information in accordance with the Bill, unless sharing was done in bad faith."

The Ministry of Justice has developed a guidance document to assist those in the wider family violence sector to meet their legal obligations and work together to address family violence.

The guidance document is intended to make it clearer when, how and why information can be shared under the law when the Bill passes and comes into force. The guidance document will also include rules about when personal information can be shared, alongside rules in other legislation, such as the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and the Privacy Act 1993.

The Ministry of Justice is seeking feedback on their draft information sharing guidance and is interested in whether their guidance document meets the following objectives:

"We want to produce guidance that provides the family violence sector with certainty around when, how and why information can be shared under law. It needs to be understandable, easy to navigate quickly and workable for the day-to-day decisions made by people in the family violence sector. It should drive the right behaviours, building consent in as a first step while facilitating more consistent information sharing practices. The guidance must meet the needs of victims, families and whānau."

How to have your say

Feedback is invited on three documents:

  • Draft guidance - a 45 page 'how-to' guide on managing and sharing information
  • A3 poster - an overview of information management
  • One-page overview - brief outline of the new information sharing provisions in the Bill.

These docments are available on the Ministry of Justice consultation hub.

Submissions close on 21 September 2018.

You can give feedback online or email FVinformationsharing@justice.govt.nz.

The final guidance is expected to be released when the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill is enacted.

All DHBs are funded to implement the Violence Intervention Programme (VIP) which seeks to reduce and prevent the health impacts of violence and abuse through early identification, assessment and referrals of victims presenting to health services. 

The foundation document for the VIP is the Ministry of Health's Family Violence Assessment and Intervention Guideline: Child abuse and intimate partner violence (“the Guideline”).

A requirement of the Guideline is for DHBs to have policies and procedures in place concerning sharing of information when family violence is suspected or disclosed. DHBs are therefore well placed to respond when the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill passes and comes into force.

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