Information sharing guidance for the family violence sector

Closed 21 Sep 2018

Opened 1 Aug 2018


Introduction and context

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill was introduced into Parliament on 15 March 2017. The Bill proposes to create new rules for family violence agencies (specific government and non-government agencies defined in the Bill) and specific social services practitioners around sharing personal information. This will provide for better and more consistent identification, prevention and response to family violence.

The Bill will:

  • permit the family violence sector 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, which seeks to clarify and simplify the rules around information sharing in an accessible form. The guidance discusses other legal requirements from key pieces of law to provide the family violence sector with certainty about what the law says. It will be accompanied by tools for the sector, such as templates.

Why we’re consulting

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.

We would like to know if the guidance document meets these objectives.

Guidance rather than a code of practice

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill provides for codes of practice to be issued on a range of operational issues, including information sharing. However, codes of practice are legislative instruments and cannot be as comprehensive as a guidance document. We have proposed to release guidance rather than a code, but if you believe a code of practice would be better, please tell us in your submission.

How to have your say

We would like to hear your views on these three documents:

  1. Draft guidance (PDF, 881KB)
    Intended to be a ‘how-to-guide’ on sharing and managing information;
  2. A3 poster (PDF, 864KB)
    Provides an overview of how information is to be managed; and
  3. One-page overview (PDF, 187KB)
    Explains what the new information sharing provisions in the Bill are and the intention behind them.

We welcome submissions on any of the proposed questions, as well as general comments on these documents.

You can:

We would like to hear what you think by 11pm on Friday 21 September 2018.

We will not be making submissions public. However, responses may be the subject of requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). Please set out clearly in your submission if you object to the release of any information in your submission. The Ministry of Justice will take objections into account when responding to OIA requests.

What happens next?

The Ministry of Justice will receive and analyse all submissions we receive. Your submission will help inform the final guidance document and any associated materials for the family violence sector.

We aim to release the guidance when the Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill is enacted.


  • Family violence sector


  • Family violence