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White Ribbon tightens community commitment

The Indo-Fijian community living in West Auckland expressed their support to the ‘It’s Not Ok’ campaign, stating that they would work together to address the rising problem of family violence in the society.

The campaign was launched on November 24 as a part of ‘White Ribbon Day,’ observed every year to raise awareness among the people.

Among those present at the launch were former Chief Families Commissioner and Member of Parliament Dr Rajen Prasad, Auckland District Court Judge Dr Ajit Singh, National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Auckland Councillor Linda Cooper and New Zealand Police National Strategic Ethnic Advisor Inspector Rakesh Naidoo.

Family Violence continues to be a serious problem in all New Zealand communities and can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age or personal circumstances.

Indo-Fijians help

Indo-Fijians have decided to take a stand and back the campaign, which was delivered in the Fiji-Hindi language for the first time.

“Many of our people know about ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign, but they wanted to put their own spin on it. Using Fiji Hindi language makes it clear that ‘Family Violence is not Ok and it is Ok to ask for help.’ The message is clear,” Jennifer Janif, Relationship Manager of the ‘Settling In’ Project of Social Development Ministry said.

The campaign was developed following a community meeting in 2012, attended by more than 100 members of the community.

Following their suggestions, the Ministry created an initiative ‘by the community for the community’ to address the issue, with the support of the Auckland Council, New Zealand Police, Social Development Ministry, Waitakere Indian Association and Waitakere Anti-Violence Essential Services.

Resources mobilised

The community has mobilised resources to promote the message such as posters, fridge magnets and radio advertisements.

Indian Radio stations will play these advertisements and speak to members of the Indian community and White Ribbon Ambassadors over the next couple of months.

It has been great to support this community initiative and see the community taking ownership of the issue, wanting to find solutions that will work for them. If this campaign can prevent our people from being harmed by family violence, that will make a big difference.

Waitakere Police Ethnic Liaison Officer Constable Khush Kullar hoped that the personalised campaign will highlight the issue of family violence among the Indo-Fijian community.

“We hope that it would also encourage families to speak out and seek help for themselves or for others,” he said.

Manoj Tahal is a Member of the Executive Committee and Former President of the Waitakere Indian Association. The picture appearing here shows members of the campaign team (from left) – Inspector Willie Fanene, Manoj Tahal, Kelly Maung, Asenaca Uluiviti, Detective Constable Khushwinder Kullar, Jenifer Janif, Inspector Rakesh Naidoo and Monica Sharma.

Some Violent Facts

· One in three women experience partner violence at some point in hers life

· On average, 14 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners every year in New Zealand

· 3500 convictions are recorded against men for assaults on women every year

· Only 20% of abuse cases are reported

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