The Disability Rights and Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioners are applauding Aotearoa New Zealand’s first national strategy to eliminate family and sexual violence - Te Aorerekura.
The 25-year strategy was released earlier today by the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson.
Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says this strategy acknowledges disabled people bear a disproportionate burden of family violence and sexual abuse.
“The voices of disabled people have been listened to in this strategy. I, and others in the disabled community, engaged with the Joint Venture working group to insist disabled people’s experiences of violence were included.
“We can only achieve better outcomes through collective action. Until this strategy, we have not explicitly acknowledged how our power structures have overlooked the impacts of family and sexual violence on tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people.
“Nor have we addressed how prevailing attitudes have kept disabled people silenced about the violence and abuse they experience for too long. A lack of workforce knowledge has also meant inadequate responses when people do speak up”, said Ms Tesoriero.
“It’s heartening to hear that the Government will embark on a new approach that is victim-centred, ensuring continued inclusive and accessible services focused both on prevention and appropriate responses to support survivors and families at risk of violence,” said Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner.
“It has taken us far too long to get here. I’m hopeful the intention and investment will begin protecting, healing, and restoring the lives of children and women victimised by family violence, particularly for our wahine Māori, Pacific and ethnic women.
“I would like to see ongoing resourcing and adequate support for survivors as well as perpetrators of family violence to seek the help and rehabilitation, so we can continue to create peaceful homes and safer communities,” adds Sumeo.
“While we address the underlying causes of violence, let’s make sure we respond and care for those who are impacted now in the most appropriate and effective ways”.
Ms Tesoriero agrees, adding; “It’s right that disabled people’s voices have been heard and the social dynamics contributing to the increased risks are visible in the strategy.
“The strategy recognises mātauranga Māori. This provides the opportunity for tāngata whaikaha Māori to be an integral part of tāngata whenua led solutions. This will be crucial to its success.
“My focus now will be on monitoring how the 10 agencies involved with the resources and recommendations I made earlier this month in the two reports I released Whakamanahia Te Tiriti, Whakahaumarutia te Tangata (Honour the Treaty, Protect the Person) and Whakamahia te Tūkino kore Ināianei, ā Muri Ake Nei (Acting Now for a Violence and Abuse Free Future).
“These reports set out the evidence available on the causes and impacts of violence and abuse against tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people.
“They provide, for the first time, an evidence base and graphic illustration of the violence and abuse suffered by tāngata whaikaha Māori and disabled people. They show a continued absence of effective responses to reduce its incidence.
“Te Aorerekura builds a strong foundation for participation, informed action and ultimate evolution. It takes us in the right direction”.
Te Aorerekura: National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence: Link to Website with range of formats and languages