Early intervention services help diverse ethnic groups

A Report on Gandhi Nivas in South Auckland

Third of many Parts

Mandy Morgan and Leigh Coombes – 

While Gandhi Nivas is providing early intervention services for clients from diverse ethnic groups within the community, it is evident that the groups for which the services were initially established, South Asian and Fijian Indian men, account for a majority of clients (51%).

The provision of culturally specific services for all men in the community fits closely with best practice for community based intervention services, and the extent of networks accessible for referral including and beyond Sahaayta will be investigated further in subsequent research projects.

Religious affiliation

Data on client religious affiliation was provided for all 103 clients; yet more than a quarter (26.3%) indicated that the client had no religious affiliation or that religious affiliation was ‘not applicable.’

Two clients did not disclose their religion.

In some cases, specific denominations of Christian Churches were specified (e.g. Catholic, Methodist), but in others the broader term ‘Christian’ was used.

We have included all Christian denominations within the broader category to ensure client confidentiality is protected in cases where denominations are unusual or unique. We have also combined two unique religious affiliations into the category ‘other’, also to protect client confidentiality.

Hindu majority

As with ethnic diversity among clients, religious affiliations are diverse, though concentrated in Hinduism and Christianity.

Over one third of clients identify their religious affiliation as Hindu (36%), with Christianity comprising the second largest religious category (18.6%).

Hindus prominent among-Chart WebReligious belief, values and spiritual practices have not been extensively studied in relation to family violence, but a recent publication on religion and male violence towards women suggests a complex relationship that requires careful cultural sensitivity and understanding of clients’ religious affiliations to effectively deliver interventions and services to them.

Religious and spiritual life have significance in relation to the meaningfulness of clients’ lives and thus potential for enhancing the wellbeing of both clients and their families in promoting change towards non-violence.

How the culturally specific services offered by Gandhi Nivas and Sahaayta engage and enhance the contribution of religious affiliation and spiritual life towards wellbeing and non-violence will be investigated in subsequent research projects.

Language Data

Language data was provided for all 103 clients. The majority of clients (68.9%) spoke more than one language and fewer than one third (27.2%) spoke only English. Nearly 15% spoke more than two languages.

Hindus prominent-Gandhi Nivas Logo WebEighteen languages were spoken among the 103 clients. Of these, English is the most commonly spoken language (94.2%), with Hindi the second most common (44.7%). Punjabi, Chinese, Fijian, Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Arabic and Gujarati are spoken by more than one client. Nine unique languages are spoken by individual clients.

These languages are not named in the analysis to protect the confidentiality of clients.

The language data provides clear evidence of the competence of many clients in multiple languages, with 94.2% of clients listing English as one of the languages they speak. However, this overwhelming majority should not imply that translation services are unimportant. Among the clients, 5.8% do not speak English.

Of the bilingual and multilingual speakers who include English in the languages they speak, almost 70% did not list English as their first language and fluency in English cannot be assessed from the data available to us. Information provided by key informants from Gandhi Nivas suggests that translation services are needed for the services delivered to clients and for their engagement with the legal system when required.

(To be continued)

Editor’s Note: Gandhi Nivas is an initiative to ‘complete’ the approach to minimise, if possible eliminate totally, family violence among South Asian families. The following report, commissioned by Massey University looks at the concept, practice and challenges that face the collective effort in South Auckland. The following report, with minor modifications to suit our readership will appear as a serial in Indian Newslink. In this third part, the authors provide a background to family violence in New Zealand.

Clients by Religion

Christian     19  18.40
Hindu      37  36.00
Sikh       9    8.70
Muslim       7    6.80
Other       2    1.90
Undisclosed       2    1.90
N/A      27   26.30


Clients by Spoken Language

Chinese  6  5.8
Fijian  5  4.8
Te Reo Maori  5  4.8
Samoan  4  3.9
Arabic  2  1.9
Gujarati  2  1.9
Other  9  8.7


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