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Nationwide Initiative around child sexual harm prevention

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 29 November 2022

conversation around Child sexual abuse prevention

Child sexual abuse is never an easy topic. It is the most vital aspect for any society to save its young ones from any potential harm.

Hamilton parents and caregivers are now being invited to drop in for a chat about child safety, with the launch of a new community project from Diversity Counselling New Zealand and Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura.

“Conversations matter” said Vani Mills, Director at Diversity Counselling New Zealand (DCNZ).  “We want to hear from families about what works for them to keep their children safe.”

Ms Mills runs a counselling service for migrant and former refugee families.  “My work is close to my heart, being a migrant.  And I’m a mum of two young children, so I know some of the challenges there can be for our communities in keeping children safe.  We don’t always have the support of extended family here, for one thing.”

“Listening for many voices” is the theme of the event, at Hamilton YWCA from 12-4 pm on Saturday 3 December. Ms Mills says the clue is in the keyword “many.”

Listening Hui- A national initiative based in Hamilton (photo supplied)

“One size does not fit all; we all know that. The things my family might do to keep our children safe might be very different to my neighbour. So, we want to hear from migrant and ethnic families, and other New Zealanders too.  That’s why we are working with our partners, to learn from each other.”

Her enthusiasm is echoed by Bex Fraser, from Rainbow organisation Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura. “We’re working together because we know that lots of different conversations and approaches are needed.  I grew up Christian, so I have ideas about what works for my own family, but I want to hear other people’s ideas as well.”

“I reckon the more we talk about this, the easier it gets. I’m hoping that people will drop in and have a cuppa, and we can start a conversation. we want to listen to what people want.”

There will be a children’s area so parents and caregivers can move around the room and talk to one of the ten project mobilisers. The organisers firmly believe every community wants to keep children safe from abuse.

“I am a survivor of abuse,” says Cayathri Divakalala, the third project lead. “I also profoundly believe in social change and transformation for the better, which is what has drawn me to this.”

The team behind the Project- Bex Fraser, Cavathri Divakalala & Vanisri Mills (photo supplied)

Ms Divakalala focuses on South Asian LGBT experiences through her work with Adhikaar Aotearoa. “My hope with this project is that communities who are often on the margins get the chance to think and reflect together on how we could keep our children safe, have some difficult conversations, be open to being challenged and see beyond the usual barriers and limitations, and build a strong sense of community in the process.”

DCNZ and Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura have been funded by ACC for a one-year National project, which would primarily be based in Hamilton, to develop resources and tools to prevent child sexual abuse.

To find out more and get involved in the initiative, please contact listeninghui@dcnz.net

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink correspondent based in Hamilton.

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