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ACC helps to extend Family Violence programme
Domestic violence in New Zealand is still largely hidden by nature.
It's a private matter for many people. Shame, loss of face, and fear of ostracism from family and community can hinder reporting and early intervention.
There are organisations that help cater to the needs of women and children that suffer from domestic violence. But there is also a need to focus on the men from these communities when thinking about prevention.
There is also little help with early intervention and counselling around family violence.
Gandhi Nivas – a safe environment for men
An early intervention service run by Gandhi Nivas is the first of its kind in New Zealand. The programme supports men to change their behaviour. It helps reduce the likelihood of further family harm, and increases safety for families.
Men are referred to Gandi Nivas by police, through a Police Safety Order or police matters related to family harm.
We're helping fund a second Gandhi Nivas service in Waitemata. The former Te Atatu Community Policing Centre is being repurposed to provide accommodation. It will also house a counselling facility.
Gandhi Nivas provides a safe environment for men to cool down. It provides accommodation and counselling services to support them. It also provides services and referrals that aim to keep women and children safe.
In December 2016, we invested $1.32 million in the Gandhi Nivas service. It provided counselling expertise to help perpetrators examine the consequences of their actions. It challenges them to accept responsibility, and helps them to change their behaviour.
Our Acting Chief Customer Officer Emma Powell says the service deserves further investment.
“We're committing a further $1.7 million over the next three years, based on the success of the programme to date. The funding will support the launch of a second service in Waitemata. This will help to provide further wrap-around services to those who need it," she says.
We play an important role in coordinating the Government's response to sexual violence prevention. Our partnership with Gandhi Nivas is part of range of injury prevention initiatives that form our approach.
Since opening in December 2014, Gandhi Nivas has reached over 900 families. The second house in Waitemata formally opens on 16 August.
"This early intervention approach places the victim first. Most importantly, it allows the victim to remain in the family home,” Ms Powell says.
In 2018, Gandhi Nivas received 190 referrals in the first half of the year. Gandhi Nivas received 414 clients in 2017, an annual increase of 75.4%. Of those clients, 79% were between the age of 21 to 30. Ethnic background of the clients varied, with 32% Māori, 25% Pasifika, 12% European, and 26% Indian and Fiji Indian.
Ranjna Patel, Director of Nirvana Health Group and initiator of Gandhi Nivas, said the service is critical in breaking the cycle of family violence.
"We saw over 85% of our clients’ partners engage in counselling and social support. We also saw over 50% of children engaged in the services,” Patel says.
"We were happy to help 15 clients secure employment. So it's clear through the numbers that the service has been successful.
"Our goal is reducing harm caused by family violence. But it's important to understand that we have a strong focus on perpetrators' behaviour. We want to help keep families together," she says.