Supporting a Pasifika-led approach to violence prevention

posted: 4:00 pm - 4th July 2018
Atu Mai programme

The ground-breaking $5.9 million, five-year campaign Atu-Mai is set to change out-dated attitudes and protect the most vulnerable in our Pasifika communities by tackling the sometimes taboo subjects of family and sexual violence.

Designed to help eliminate family and sexual violence, and suicidal behaviour among Pasifika young people in New Zealand, Atu-Mai launched on July 4 by ACC and Pasifika experts Le Va, is proudly supported by the New Zealand Government, says ACC Minister Hon Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio.

Minister Sio says Atu-Mai will have a positive impact on the Pasifika communities by investing in Pasifika young people and helping them to thrive.

“For far too long we have told ourselves that it was okay to harm the most vulnerable members of our family, which is unacceptable and has no part in our culture,” Minister Sio says.  

“That practice is wrong and does not align with the heart of our culture, which is alofa and is about being kind and patient, which needs to be reflected in the words we use to our aiga.”

Atu-Mai is an important initiative to support Pasifika families and Minister Sio says he believes Pacific communities will embrace wholeheartedly the message that it is all our responsibility to keep our loved ones safe, healthy and strong, especially women and children.

Minister Lees-Galloway says Pasifika are disproportionately affected by violence, and the Atu-Mai programme has been designed by Pasifika not-for-profit organisation Le Va to help break down the barriers to positive behavioural change.  

“Pasifika young people are three times more likely to be exposed to family violence; they have higher rates of assault claims lodged with ACC; and their injuries from assault tend to be worse, and come at a higher financial and social cost,” he explains.

Research by ACC suggests three quarters of all violence experienced in Pasifika communities is not formally reported. 

Low reporting of sexual violence and family violence due to cultural barriers, can limit our understanding of these issues and mask the extent of the problem.

There are traditional and cultural sensitivities that need to be treated with care, and Le Va’s guidance, insight and strong track record will help us achieve better outcomes for Pasifika young people, Minister Lees-Galloway says.

Visit Atu-Mai for more information.