Between July 2014 and October 2017, there were over 30,000 cases of victimisations of women aged between 10-19 9 (NZ Police).
The Hine Toa Leadership programme by Waitākere Police in West Auckland aims to provide a meaningful and positive intervention in the lives of young females victims or who have come from adverse backgrounds.
One of the young women participating in the programme is Harikoa Bruce from Ngāpuhi who told Te Kāea, "They help to build our self-esteem and they help with our courage. It makes me feel like I know where I'm from and I know who I am. "
Constable Monique Southey (Cook Island/NZ), a mentor for Hine Toa says, "Youth is where it's at. I think it's really important for us to engage with them early and intervene and stuff like that it's not something that we get the opportunity to do very often."
Now in its 12th year, six police officers are mentoring twelve young women using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and activities to build character, confidence, and optimism.
Elaborating further Constable Southey says, "So we've been brought in to teach them life skills, leadership skills stuff like that, to try new things, things they haven't done before and that this is a good environment to do that and we support them 100% stuff like that, they've been responding very well."
Project Manager for Youth Development, Holiday Kairua says the program was initiated to meet a need, "Realistically it's about building confidence and self-esteem in these young women and giving them a chance to look at their future and having a brighter future and aspiring to be whoever they want to be."
Officer Kairua says they're seeing positive results.
"We've gone on to see girls be head girl, or deputy head girl, gone on to university, gone on to do exactly what they wanted to do after realising what their passion is."
Bruce says, "I'm bonding a lot, I'm leaving my personal bubble and stuff, yeah I'm getting out there."
The team also follow up with the young women throughout the year to track progress.
Kairua explains, "To follow up on stuff about the goal setting that we look at and what their aspirations are in terms of employment or even education, just to make sure that they're okay and that we still care."
Next year the programme will turn the focus on helping male youth.