Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Visits Aviva and The Loft

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting The Loft with Poto Williams MP and Nicola Woodward.

In April 2019, Aviva was excited to welcome Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to The Loft. The goal of her visit was to learn more about Aviva’s approach to family and sexual violence, and The Loft’s integrated model for addressing social inequalities and their impact on wellbeing.

According to data released by the New Zealand Police in June 2019, the police are called every four minutes to investigate an episode of family harm, 14% of young people report being hit or physically harmed on purpose by an adult at home, and 50% of New Zealand homicides are caused by family violence. “New Zealand stats have been abysmal for a very long time and we’ve known it for a very long time,” Director of Innovation and Strategy Nicola Woodward explains. “However, we don’t know if the most recent increased number of police call outs reflects an increase in family violence or an increase in people’s trust that if they call the police, they’ll get the help they need.”

Prime Minister Ardern’s visit came shortly after the government's announcement that it would invest in the development of services for family and sexual violence. Ardern stated, “My goal has always been for New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child and that means supporting parents and communities to ensure children grow up in secure homes free from violence.”

Aviva has been developing its holistic child and family centered approach to family violence since 2011, recognising the importance of pro-actively reaching out and earlier intervention in breaking the intergenerational cycle of violence to achieve this very goal. During her visit, Ardern dropped in on a Peer Support community training course to meet people with lived experience of overcoming violence and joined Plunket’s infant drop-in clinic. She also connected with practitioners from across The Loft partners to discuss the most critical issues facing New Zealand families. “It’s very promising and it indicates movement in the right direction,” Nicola says regarding the government’s interest in Aviva and The Loft’s service models. “The ability to achieve Aviva’s and The Loft’s potential for children, families and communities is not only subject to transforming how we respond to family and sexual violence, but also transforming how the government responds. We’re all parts of one interdependent system.”

Since the Prime Minister’s visit, The Loft partners have been invited to submit a funding proposal to government to support and develop The Loft's approach for children and families. The Loft sits at the heart of Aviva’s strategy to change how we respond to family violence and sexual violence. Family violence and problems closely connected with violence, such as mental ill health, are the main reasons people walk through The Loft front door. The government’s recognition of The Loft model and Aviva’s approach is highly encouraging as we continue our journey to create the best possible response model to family and sexual violence.

Sadly, demand for Aviva’s services always exceeds the funding we receive from government. Please consider helping us in creating a better world for our children by making a donation at