Minister’s rejection of Privacy Commissioner findings lacks “evidence base” says national family violence agency
Today’s announcement by Social Development Minister, Anne Tolley that she was not prepared to accept the recommendations
arising from the Privacy Commissioner’s report into the collection of Individual Client Level Data from MSD funded
social service providers was both disheartening and disconnected from the reality of people accessing those services, a
leading national family violence agency said today.
Responding to Ms Tolley’s comments on Radio National this morning, Ms Merran Lawler, Kaiarahi of Te Kupenga Whakaoti
Mahi Patunga/National Network of Stopping Violence Services said:
“It is staggering the Minister has both criticised the report and denied there is any evidence that it will lead to
people choosing not to seek help” said Ms Lawler. “MSD has never asked family violence prevention services nor their
clients about the potential impacts of the ICLD requirement on either service delivery or the willingness of clients to
seek or continue receiving those services”.
In contrast member agencies of the National Network of Stopping Violence Services have been consulting widely with their
clients about the impact of the ICLD requirement on future service delivery.
“Our members are consistently reporting that more than half of existing self-referred clients (those funded under MSD
contracts) will not continue with those services if the ICLD requirement takes effect from 1 July, 2017. In some
instances 100% of self-referred clients undertaking non-violence programmes have said they will be withdrawing from
their programme if the requirement is implemented. We are also receiving reports from our members about potential
clients who are now refusing offers for support services because of the data collection requirement ,even though it does
not come into effect for several months.”
“The core of MSD’s own Family Violence Prevention Strategy is on early identification and intervention in family
violence situations. And yet, the ICLD requirement mitigates against that”, Ms Lawler said “Under that requirement, a
person who voluntarily seeks help will, from 1 July 2017 face the stark choice of either being forever recorded in a
government database as a person who has sought help as a perpetrator or victim of family violence or receive no service
“In recent years MSD has insisted that family violence intervention services must become much more evidenced-based and
yet, it has arbitrarily adopted and imposed a mandatory data collection requirement which has no evidence base to
support it and which flies in the face of the available evidence against it”.
NNSVS has reiterated its call to Minister Tolley to provide an exemption to family violence services around the country
on the same terms as the exemption recently granted to sexual violence services.