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Collective action to stop the violence

Editorial

Te Aorerekura, a bold and collaborative new national strategy and action plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence over the next 25 years, sets a direction and path that, taken successfully, will transform the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

The ambition of Te Aorerekura is commensurate with the scale and harm of sexual and family violence in our communities, and in far too many of our homes. Its remit covers services and support for victims and perpetrators of violence, education, and the underlying social conditions that contribute to violence.

In some ways it is a path that has been trailblazed in this region by Manaaki Tairawhiti — a group of iwi and cross-sector leaders focused on changing how social services work together, to help whanau flourish — the police family harm team Whangaia Pa Harakeke, and Tauawhi Men's Centre.

The strategy launched yesterday by Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson sets out a collective and inter-generational journey for government, tangata whenua, specialist sectors and communities.

Crucially, it will encourage and support the development of local solutions and new ways of working. It has a focus on tailored services for Maori, Pasifika, ethnic, LGBTQI and disabled communities, older people and male survivors; and on supporting children and young people to understand healthy relationships, and know how to seek help. Perpetrators of violence will be held accountable, and supported to change. Over time it aims to ensure the justice system doesn't cause further harm to victims, and that whanau are supported to heal and overcome the trauma of violence.

Davidson said the Government wanted to see reduced tolerance for violence and inequity across the country, and highlighted the need to address the impacts of colonisation, racism and the marginalisation of tangata whenua.

Te Aorerekura outlines six key changes or “shifts” required, each of which is interconnected and depends on wider changes across Aotearoa New Zealand that will help address the drivers of violence.

They are shifts towards: strength-based wellbeing; mobilising communities; skilled, culturally competent and sustainable workforces; investment in primary prevention to protect against family violence and sexual violence; safe, accessible and integrated responses; increased capacity for healing. Learning and monitoring progress is also built into the strategy.