Government launches strategy to eliminate family and sexual violence in Aotearoa

The Government has launched a national strategy to eliminate family violence and sexual violence in Aotearoa.

Police respond to a family harm incident every four minutes, and in the year to June 2021 there were an estimated 168,000 sexual assault offences on adults.

An average 30 people are killed by family members annually. Women and children bear the brunt, with Māori and Pasifika and the disabled disproportionately impacted.

It has been almost two decades since the last national plan to combat family and sexual violence, and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson has made it a priority of hers since the election.

Davidson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today launch Te Aorerekura, the country’s first National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Joined by tangata whenua and sector representatives, Davidson said Te Aorerekura was a 25-year strategy building on work already under way across Government, tangata whenua, and communities, to create a shared view.

It includes an action plan to monitor progress, and involves establishing a Tangata Whenua Advisory Group to provide independent advice.

Davidson said the strategy would give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty) by building relationships between Māori and the Crown, enabling Māori to have more of a role in their own wellbeing.

“We need to address the intergenerational impacts of colonisation and racism in order for us to eliminate violence,” Davidson said.

“Violence that impacts whānau is rooted in the marginalisation of tangata whenua and societal changes enforced during the colonisation of Aotearoa.

“There are solutions within the promotion and strengthening of whānau ora that require a focus on healing, restoration, redress and a return to a state of noa – being without limitations.”

The Government launched a joint venture in 2018 to start work on a strategy, bringing together 10 agencies and six ministers.

It included a group of Māori leaders and experts called Interim Te Rōpū, tasked with developing the draft strategy.

However, as reported by Stuff, it fell over in September 2019, written off by senior ministers as too focused on Māori, and not applicable to all demographics in New Zealand.

In developing the strategy there were 120 hui over May and July this year and about1000 submissions.

Agencies were working on an investment and implementation plan for the strategy.

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