Issue 26 of the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand has several important and timely themes: family violence, partnership strategies, early intervention services for children and papers addressing tobacco, alcohol and other drug abuse. These comprise some of the key strategies, work areas and issues at the centre of current social policy in New Zealand. In particular, they include most of the critical social issues identified in the Opportunity for All New Zealanders strategy as priorities for interagency action over the next three to five years.
One of the identified critical social issues is "preventing family violence, and abuse and neglect of children and older persons", and this is the focus of three papers contained here. The recently launched New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse emerged from the Te Rito New Zealand Family Violence Prevention Strategy. Tracy Anderson, who was the project manager for the development of the clearinghouse, tells us about its purpose and how to access and contribute to it. The importance of this resource is reinforced by two research papers that I expect will become, themselves, assets of the clearinghouse. The paper by 'Ana Hau'alofa'ia Koloto and Sashi Sharma is about the needs of Pacific women who are victims of family violence. Janice Giles, Helen Cureen and Carole Adamson have written about public perceptions of partner abuse.
Another identified critical social issue is reducing tobacco, alcohol and other drug abuse. Research concerns in this area are the focus of two papers written by public health specialists. Peter Adams and Ian Hodges describe and advocate for a national strategy for research on tobacco, alcohol, other drugs and gambling. The paper by George Thomson and Louise Signal explores the issues and the current policies surrounding relations between the universities and the tobacco industry.
Several papers take up issues around partnership approaches, which make up an important strategy for progressing most of government's social policies. Anna Matheson, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Kevin Dew write about the value of partnerships between the government and the community to reduce health inequalities. Jo Cribb focuses on the accountability relationships in which voluntary organisations are involved, how they prioritise them, and the implications for contracting mechanisms. A government-community partnership to promote economic development is the focus of Meenakshi Sankar's paper...