One of the most worrying issues facing New Zealanders today is that New Zealand has one of the highest reported rates of family and sexual violence in the developed world. In response to these unsettling statistics, the New Zealand Government has pledged itself to developing new ways of ensuring that everyone in New Zealand can feel safe in their communities.


Until recently, those working in the sector have lacked a national framework with clear and consistent guidelines for carefully resolving these sensitive issues. This led to the development of the Workforce Capability Framework, which aims to tackle family violence, sexual violence, and violence within whānau. The workforce is comprised of government agencies, family violence and sexual violence service providers, organisations, volunteers, and kahukura (community champions).

 “No matter where you are, the Workforce Capability Framework provides means to identify how best to help people and where to find resources. The Framework goes into detail and aims to guide anyone across the workforce including community members who intersect with people experiencing family violence, sexual violence and/or violence within whānau” - Giselle Wansa-Harvey


As a member of the Multi Agency Team, Giselle Wansa-Harvey helped to develop the Workforce Capability Framework alongside members of the Expert Design Group. Giselle identified that if the framework was to be successful, the Workforce Expert Design Group would need to hear a wide range of voices from individuals and organisations working in different areas of the community. The decision-making software Loomio was utilised to streamline the collaborative decision-making process.

We worked in stages and initially produced a skeleton version of the Framework based on preliminary research, targeted consultations across the country and face-to-face interviews. The draft was then published on the Loomio group and people were invited to comment and discuss.” – Giselle Wansa-Harvey

Giselle also diagnosed the importance of careful preparation and found the that the online consultation over Loomio was a natural and effective way of organising and responding to ideas put forth. Due to the particularly sensitive nature of the project, it was especially important that the platform enabled professional and considerate responses in an instinctive manner in order to gather the full range of suggestions and opinions to help craft solutions.


The result of over 12 months of research, engagement, and consultation by the Giselle and the Expert Design Team, the Workforce Capability Framework is a complex web of support structures including government agencies, private organisations, family violence and sexual violence professionals, practitioners, and volunteers. The diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and understandings of those involved in its development and implementation helps to provide a complete and consistent set of standards and guidelines for responding safely and respectfully to those experiencing, affected by, and perpetrating this violence. 


Government-run initiatives are often high-pressure environments with strict deadlines and explicit requirements due to the scope and urgent nature of the projects they undertake. Giselle and other members of the Expert Design Team were able to efficiently and effectively manage the operation, resulting in the Framework we have today. The Framework is currently being tested in the local context of several early adopter sites, as well as in the Integrates Safety Response pilot sites in Christchurch and Hamilton.