A Commitment to Empowerment
In a resolute stride toward eradicating family and sexual violence, the Government has fulfilled its commitment to amplify the voices of the community. Marama Davidson, the Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, revealed this monumental initiative that places community input at the heart of the strategy.
Strengthening the Collective Voice
The unveiling of the Ethnic Communities Network stands as the culminating achievement, encapsulating the comprehensive tapestry of groups contributing to the realization and oversight of Te Aorerekura— the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence. This strategic framework aims to forge a reality where every individual in Aotearoa can live devoid of violence.
A Tapestry of Diverse Insights
Marama Davidson articulated the imperative of diverse voices in crafting effective transformations. She highlighted the importance of embracing experiences from various quarters — ethnic communities, tangata whenua, Pacific peoples, Rainbow peoples, disabled peoples, children and young people, older individuals, victim-survivors, and even those who have previously engaged in violent behavior.
Unifying Diverse Strands
Within the mosaic of ethnic communities, encompassing over 200 ethnicities including migrants, refugees, settlers, and native New Zealanders, the Ethnic Communities Network emerges as a vital avenue for direct contribution to Te Aorerekura. Davidson emphasized the aspirations of these communities for safer, culturally sensitive services, robust data capturing distinctive forms of violence, enriched education, and improved government and community support mechanisms.
Confronting Systemic Challenges
Davidson’s address also acknowledged the hurdles ethnic communities face amid systemic racism and cultural norms, particularly in the context of gender dynamics. These challenges have often contributed to the underreporting of violence, less effective services, and an urgent need for targeted reform.
Financial Backing for Engagement
Demonstrating the Government’s earnest commitment, over $1.765 million has been allocated to facilitate meaningful engagement with diverse communities under Te Aorerekura. This financial support aims to empower communities to engage constructively in shaping the strategy’s implementation.
Amplifying Community Voice: Models for Participation
The overarching endeavor to amplify community voice and leadership falls within Shift Two of the Te Aorerekura Action Plan. This drive for inclusivity has manifested in distinct models of participation across various groups:
- Ethnic communities have formed a network to collaborate on responsive violence prevention strategies, influencing government efforts collectively.
- The establishment of an independent Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory group, Te Pūkotahitanga.
- Rangatahi and experienced adults collaborate in an Expert Advisory Group for Children and Young People.
- Rainbow Network receives funding to enhance LGBTQIA+ community engagement.
- An Interim Disability Reference Group has been established, and a National Disability Expert Advisory Board is in the pipeline.
- Pasifika providers gather frequently, recently holding the inaugural National Pacific Family Violence and Sexual Violence Practitioners’ Fono in Auckland.
- The Office for Seniors initiates a regional elder abuse network pilot.
- Work is underway to comprehensively address those who have engaged in violence.
Shaping Progress Through Dialogues
The second Annual Te Aorerekura Hui, convened in June this year, facilitated a convergence of communities and government agencies. This platform fostered insightful discussions on the strides made over the past 18 months.
Building on Engagement
Marama Davidson emphasized the Government’s responsiveness to community feedback as they lay the bedrock for Te Aorerekura’s implementation. The Government’s commitment to listen, respond, and integrate the voices of the community remains resolute as they endeavor to create a safer Aotearoa for all.