New national sexual violence response service for ethnic communities

Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Shama Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre plans to develop a national specialist sexual violence response service for ethnic communities.

Shama has received seed funding to establish a national service that can respond to the specific needs of people within ethnic communities who have experienced sexual assault or rape.

Ethnic in this context refers to people living in New Zealand, who are not primarily of European, Māori or Pasifika descent.

Next steps include a national hui for ethnic community stakeholders in the sexual violence and therapeutic sectors, to be held on 24 July 2019. This event is for people of ethnic backgrounds to come together. The final session of the day will include a 'feedback' session that will be open to all interested parties including MPs, policy advisors and mainstream services. 

Shama Manager, Silvana Erenchun Perez, said the recent announcement of a $320 million package from the government to better support sexual and family violence responses is welcome and much needed, but some of this funding must be directed towards groups that have been under-served in the past.

Dr Rachel Simon-Kumar, Associate Professor of Social and Community Health at Auckland University, said "The lack of research and victims coming forward is used to argue that violence doesn’t happen to ethnic women. It’s important we don’t just assume one size fits all. We need a service for ethnic communities developed from the grassroots."

Related resources

A recent report by ActionStation said government underfunding of the sexual violence sector was particularly hurting already marginalised people, including refugee and migrant communities. See: For the wellbeing of New Zealanders: An urgent call for full funding for sexual violence prevention & support services (ActionStation, 2019)

See also: Simon-Kumar, R. (2019). Ethnic perspectives on family violence in Aotearoa New Zealand. Issues Paper 14. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, University of Auckland.

Shakti Community Council is currently working on the development of an Ethnic Domestic Violence Response Framework.

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