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National Action Plan on family violence mooted

The growing menace of family violence and the disruption it causes to women, children and other victims would come under focus at a conference due to be held next week.

Organised by the Tairawhiti Multicultural Council, the Conference will be held as a part of its quarterly meeting from November 8 to 10, 2013 at Te Poho O Rawiri Marae in Gisborne.

White Ribbon

Council President Arish Naresh said that the three-day event will promote the ‘White Ribbon’ Campaign held in November every year to raise public awareness on the need to curb family violence and promote better families.

He said that workshops, group discussions and action plans will form a part of the proceedings and that the quarterly meeting of the Council has been listed as an event under the ‘While Ribbon’ Campaign.

Naida Glavish, Chief Advisor, Waitamata District Health Board and Auckland District Health Board will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the Conference. Among the other speakers at the Conference would be Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy, Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, Refugee and Migrant Social Services National Manager Ann Dysart, New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils President Tayo Agunlejika and Mr Naresh.

New Model

Mr Naresh said that Ms Glavish would explain what can be learned from E Tu Whanau Programme of Action to Stop Family Violence.

“The knowledge obtained from E Tu would be applied to develop a model that ethnic communities can use to stop family violence. We must preserve our languages, traditions and cultures but change our attitudes towards the treatment of our women and children, who are often the most common victims of family violence in ethnic communities” he said.

As well as discussing a National Action Plan for ethnic communities, the workshops will address the issue of effectively accessing and interpreting Statistics New Zealand Census for the benefit of community groups.

Increasing trend

Quoting official statistics, Mr Naresh said that the New Zealand Police had carried out 89,947 investigations relating to family violence for the year ending June 30, 2013, of which 56,237 children under 16 years of age were either present or normally at home when violence occurred.

“Family violence is an issue not given enough awareness in ethnic communities. Due to cultural norms and upbringing in male dominated societies, ethnic communities sometimes accept family violence or intimidation in relationships as acceptable. The forthcoming workshops will hopefully empower community leaders to start discussions on why we need to be more proactive in combatting family violence issues,” he said.


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