What do the COVID-19 alert levels mean if I need to attend a justice service or programme?

The following justice services and programmes are available under COVID-19 alert levels 1 to 4:

  • Family violence programmes (non-violence programmes, safety programmes, strengthening safety service)
  • Whānau protect
  • Public Trust
  • Victim Support
  • Restorative justice
  • Family disputes resolution
  • Parenting through separation
  • Harmful digital communications
  • Community law centres
  • Matariki Court

While all services are available under each alert level, some services (which are not categorised as essential) may be suspended under Alert Level 4, if they are unable to be delivered safely.

At all alert levels, all service providers must operate safely, which means:

  • complying with the alert level requirements for the area(s) where they are operating
  • meeting public health requirements for their workplace (for example, having contact tracing systems, both app and paper based, and physical distancing), and
  • fulfilling all other health and safety obligations.

What will service delivery look like at Alert Level 1?

At Alert Level 1, services can operate normally. Service providers are expected to:

  • maintain basic hygiene measures, including regularly washing hands and coughing or sneezing into elbows
  • keep track of where staff have been and who they’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if required, and
  • check wellness and take precautions when staff or someone they are providing services to has cold or flu-like symptoms or potential/confirmed COVID-19.

Video conferencing or phone contact may be used, but not where the service would be more effectively delivered face-to-face.

What will service delivery look like at Alert Level 2?

Alert Level 2 allows for services to open and be delivered similarly to Alert Level 1, where this can be done safely. Services can also be provided at the participant’s premises (for example, in homes).

Operating safely under Alert Level 2 means providers will be expected to:

  • maintain physical distancing of one metre in the workplace unless other mitigating measures are in place
  • maintain physical distancing from people in public places (2 metres)
  • maintain high levels of personal hygiene and workplace cleaning
  • keep accurate contact records to enable contact tracing if required
  • check wellness and take precautions when staff or someone they are providing services to has cold or flu-like symptoms or potential/confirmed COVID-19, and
  • meet all health and safety requirements.

Video conferencing or phone contact may be used, but not where the service would be more effectively delivered face-to-face.

What will service delivery look like at Alert Level 3?

Under Alert Level 3, all services can operate as long as they are able to do so safely. However, participants can’t be seen on their own premises (their homes). Services will be delivered remotely.

Service providers are required to work from home unless that is not possible. Workplaces can only open if:

  • staff cannot work from home
  • workplaces are operating safely
  • participants and the public are not allowed into the workplace, and
  • services can operate without physical contact (for example, by phone/online, video etc).

Providers cannot offer services that involve face-to-face contact, unless it is an essential service, emergency or critical situation. Where essential service providers are requested to provide face-to-face services by other essential services (such as Police) or in emergency or critical situations, staff must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment.

The Ministry of Justice has categorised the following services as essential:

  • Family violence programmes
  • Whānau protect
  • Public Trust
  • Victim Support

These services are deemed essential because they:

  • are required under legislation
  • directly support courts to provide access to justice for New Zealanders, or
  • provide an immediate response where vulnerable people are at risk of harm or their safety is compromised.

What will service delivery look like at Alert Level 4?

At Alert Level 4, essential services are expected to continue operating in line with the relevant alert level requirements, meaning that they are available for service participants.

All other services may continue if they are able to meet the alert level requirements and all staff are working from home.

Service providers may only engage with participants and deliver services using remote technology and phone-based communication.

Providers cannot offer services that involve face-to-face contact, unless it is an essential service, emergency or critical situation. Where essential service providers are requested to provide face-to-face services by other essential services (such as Police) or in emergency or critical situations, staff must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment.

More information

If you are a provider of these services and have any further questions, please contact your contract manager.

If you wish to access these services or have questions about the availability and delivery of services, please contact your local service provider.

Find your local service provider

Family violence
Public register of family violence safety and non-violence programme providers

Victim Support
Victim support website(external link)
0800 842 846 (24hr service) for all victims of serious crime.

Restorative justice
List of restorative justice providers

Parenting through separation and family dispute resolution
Find a service to help with disputes

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