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Eliminating violence in the home

Eliminating violence in the home

  • 01 Mar 2019
Minister Sio with Maiava Iulai Toma the current Ombudsman for Samoa at the Nga Vaka o Kaiga Tapu fono.

A loss of culture has led to a breakdown in relational being, and an escalation in unacceptable violent behaviour in Pacific cultures.

Pasefika Proud’s initiative the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu Cultural Frameworks, create an opportunity to return to the beauty and richness of Pacific culture, and hold the solutions regarding ways of knowing, and ways of being. 

These are tools aimed to help Pacific families to return to a state of wellbeing.

Recently, the Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu: Pathways to Wellbeing Fono was staged at Auckland’s Waipuna Hotel, for all those wanting to contribute to the discussion of Family Violence as it relates to Pacific communities, families, women and children.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio attended the event, and led the pre-fono breakfast. 

He shared personal remarks on family violence and sexual abuse, and says there is a lot of work to be done in this space in Aotearoa and throughout the Pacific region. 

“Pacific must lead in order to eliminate this scourge from our communities,” Minister Sio says. 

“We must be ambitious for our families and the next generation and tackle family violence and sexual abuse head on, and we must be courageous and be bold and confident in this endeavour to shine light on issues that have generally been kept in the shadows.” 

New Zealand’s reported levels of family violence are disproportionately high as also is the suicide rate among Pacific youth, the Minister says.

We have to collectively recognise the problem in our country and while he things this is taking place, more of it needs to happen, he adds.

Recognition must also include the darkest of our community secrets – sexual violence.  

“The rate of sexual violence among Pacific communities is almost twice the national average.

“We have been keeping sexual abuse in the shadows – it is distasteful and uncomfortable because both the offenders and the victims are known, or related to us. 

“We have to collectively confront this shadow world full-on.” 

From a Government perspective, ending family and sexual violence is one of the greatest opportunities to improve wellbeing.  

This is the year of the Wellbeing Budget, and one of the five priorities for the 2019 WellbeingBudget is “Lifting Māori and Pasifika incomes, skills and opportunities”.

The Government will look to enabling an integrated and effective system, and encouraging community innovation in solving some of the big challenges we face as a country. 

It is the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ vision to place Pacific at the centre of decision-making, and to drive their own change, to create healthy, resilient, confident Pacific peoples.

Its vision closely aligns with the developers of Nga Vaka o Kainga Tapu and organisers of the fono, the Alliance Community Initiatives Trust.

This is important as it means organisations are thinking alike, Minister Sio says. 

“We’re on the right track in terms of achieving lasting social and economic change within our communities.” 

Several initiatives are taking place to tackle violence and sexual abuse in our homes and communities, which Minister Sio talks about in his full speech from the fono HERE.

Keynote speaker Minister for Social Development, Hon Carmel Sepuloni spoke following Minister Sio, followed by Samoan Ombudsman, le afioga Maiava Iulai Toma, who shared the national inquiry report on family violence in Samoa.   

Academic Professor Konai Helu Thaman from the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, alongside policy influencers, Charles Waldegrave and Taimalie-utu Kiwi Tamasese from the Family Centre Social Policy and Research Unit and Salu Uepa also shared personal experiences with sexual and family violence.