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Using systems thinking to address intimate partner violence and child abuse in New Zealand Sarah Carne, David Rees, Nicola Paton and Janet Fanslow

By: Carne, Sarah.
Contributor(s): Rees, David | Paton, Nicola | Fanslow, Janet L.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleSeries: NZFVC Issues Paper.Publisher: Auckland, New Zealand : New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, University of Auckland, 2019Description: electronic document (37 pages); PDF file: 1.15 MB; Word DOCX file: 2.38 MB.Subject(s): CHILD ABUSE | DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | ORGANISATIONAL SYSTEMS | SOCIAL CHANGE | SOCIAL POLICY | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: Click here to access online Issues Paper, 13, January 2019Summary: This paper makes the case that using systems thinking (ST) is essential if we are to make significant progress in reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse and neglect (CAN) in Aotearoa New Zealand. The paper outlines some key concepts and tools of ST and how these can contribute to the design, development and implementation of effective approaches to prevent and respond to IPV and CAN. Ultimately, it argues that an ST approach is essential as previous efforts have failed to achieve the scale and lasting change required. The Family Violence Death Review Committee has emphasised that “transformational change” is required. 1 The paper is based on a review of New Zealand and international literature. As literature on the application of systems thinking to IPV and CAN is limited, we have also drawn on literature applying systems thinking to other social and environmental issues. Findings from the literature were supplemented by conversations with some key people working on IPV and CAN in New Zealand to help relate the themes from the literature to the policy and practice context. (Authors' introduction). Key messages - Systems thinking is recommended to address intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse and neglect (CAN) in New Zealand. - Systems thinking is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of ideas, methods and tools that focus on understanding system behaviour, emphasising the contextual nature of the problems we try to solve. It aims to affect transformational systemic change that is both sympathetic to existing needs and disruptive in terms of making changes aimed at positive outcomes. -- Systems analysis helps build a collective understanding of the parts, and relationships between the parts, which leads to a view of the whole. -- System designers often talk of bringing the whole system “into one room” since the capacity to understand and explore the issue are spread across the system. -- The experiences of people directed impacted by a system play a critical part in understanding the system and in the design, implementation and review of any change process. -- Systems tend to pivot around leverage points: places in the system that have a significant impact on system behaviours. These leverage points need to become the focus of interventions, targeting scarce resources where they will have the most effect in reducing the incidence and improving the response to IPV and CAN. Systems analysis also informs theories of change and helps identify measures and indicators. - Using systems thinking to address IPV and CAN requires transformational change and an enabling framework. This includes: -- Government leadership and a strategic intent -- Early and sustained collaboration across the system and integrated government and community level efforts -- Infrastructure and processes to link and enable the various parts of the prevention and response system to work together -- Effective stewardship including oversight, monitoring of outcomes and acting on shared learnings -- A framework for measurement, monitoring and evaluation for the purpose of learning. (Authors' abstract). Record #6150
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NZFVC Issues Paper, 13, January 2019

This paper makes the case that using systems thinking (ST) is essential if we are to make significant progress in reducing intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse and neglect (CAN) in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The paper outlines some key concepts and tools of ST and how these can contribute to the design, development and implementation of effective approaches to prevent and respond to IPV and CAN. Ultimately, it argues that an ST approach is essential as previous efforts have failed to achieve the scale and lasting change required. The Family Violence Death Review Committee has emphasised that “transformational change” is required.
1
The paper is based on a review of New Zealand and international literature. As literature on the application of systems thinking to IPV and CAN is limited, we have also drawn on literature applying systems thinking to other social and environmental issues. Findings from the literature were
supplemented by conversations with some key people working on IPV and CAN in New Zealand to help relate the themes from the literature to the policy and practice context. (Authors' introduction).

Key messages

- Systems thinking is recommended to address intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse and neglect (CAN) in New Zealand.

- Systems thinking is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of ideas, methods and tools that focus on understanding system behaviour, emphasising the contextual nature of the problems we try to solve. It aims to affect transformational systemic change that is
both sympathetic to existing needs and disruptive in terms of making changes aimed at positive outcomes.
-- Systems analysis helps build a collective understanding of the parts, and relationships between the parts, which leads to a view of the whole.
-- System designers often talk of bringing the whole system “into one room” since the capacity to understand and explore the issue are spread across the system.
-- The experiences of people directed impacted by a system play a critical part in understanding the system and in the design, implementation and review of any change process.
-- Systems tend to pivot around leverage points: places in the system that have a significant impact on system behaviours. These leverage points need to become the
focus of interventions, targeting scarce resources where they will have the most effect in reducing the incidence and improving the response to IPV and CAN. Systems analysis also informs theories of change and helps identify measures and indicators.

- Using systems thinking to address IPV and CAN requires transformational change and an enabling framework. This includes:
-- Government leadership and a strategic intent -- Early and sustained collaboration across the system and integrated government and community level efforts
-- Infrastructure and processes to link and enable the various parts of the prevention and response system to work together
-- Effective stewardship including oversight, monitoring of outcomes and acting on shared learnings

-- A framework for measurement, monitoring and evaluation for the purpose of learning. (Authors' abstract). Record #6150

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