Topics: Health, Politics

Colonisation trauma linked to family violence - Report  

By Talisa Kupenga

A new report by the prime minister's chief science adviser says it is possible to prevent and end family violence in New Zealand.  The report, titled Every 4 Minutes, acknowledges the link between the trauma of colonisation and prejudice to the high rates of family violence and incarceration among Māori.

The report says protecting children from family violence will prevent them becoming the next generation of perpetrators.

Chief Science Adviser for the justice sector, Dr Ian Lambie says, "Given the risk of inter-generational transmission of violence it's essential that we work with children who have experienced abuse or have been exposed to violence in order to break the cycle."

The report says there is a family violence related call-out in NZ every four minutes.

It also says intimate-partner violence is the leading cause of female homicide death and that eleven percent of Māori were still likely to experience a violent interpersonal offence by an intimate partner compared to five percent of the general population.

Lambie says, "Colonisation has had an inter-generational effect on Māori and Māori are disproportionately affected by family violence combined with other negative social effects of racism, discrimination and dislocation.  Programme design and implementation must be in accord with [the] Māori world view."

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says, "I don't think a 'one-size-fits-all' approach will work.  It doesn't for children and we need to focus and harness the resources of iwi and Māori organisations and I look forward to that happening."

The paper’s priorities include a focus on repairing harm to children, changing social norms through media campaigns and strengthening economic support for families.

Under-secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues) Jan Logie says, "If we join together and our actions reflect what we know works we can turn this around.  We can be that country that leads the world in providing a better future for everyone."

The Te Rōpū group which will advise ministers directly of the needs of Māori will be announced in the new year.