Papakura facility another milestone in reducing family harm
Auckland, September 8, 2018
Organisations like ‘Gandhi Nivas’ are important contributors in reducing family violence and family harm and make our homes safer, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa has said.
Inaugurating the third branch of Gandhi Nivas in Papakura, South Auckland yesterday (Friday, September 7, 2018), she said that her government supports such projects that work to bring about positive changes in perpetrators of family harm.
“I am happy that ‘Gandhi Nivas’ has been successful in being a good interventionist to help men perpetrating family harm. I understand that it was established (in December 2014) to be of service primarily to the members of the Indian community but has since grown to cater to all other communities including Maori and Pacifica. All of us must work together to ensure that our homes are free of violence,” Ms Salesa said.
Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa with (from left) Senior Sergeant Sharon Price, Sucharita Varma, Gandhi Nivas Chairperson Ranjna Patel, Rakesh Naidoo and Mark Vela (Picture Supplied)
Unveiling a plaque to mark the opening of ‘Gandhi Nivas Papakura,’ she dedicated the branch to the memory of Vivek Varma, who was a strong supporter of the Project since its inception and a pillar of strength to his wife Sucharita Varma to set up ‘Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support’ on October 15, 2013.
Mr Verma passed away suddenly on July 3, 2018 in Auckland.
Indian Newslink has been working with Ms Varma since 2012 when she joined the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network, a voluntary service based in Papatoetoe.
The growing incidence of family harm among South Asian communities and a lack of facilities to provide victims and perpetrators appropriate guidance and service, encouraged her to establish ‘Sahaayta Counselling and Support Service.’
A private initiative, formed with finances raised through a loan by the Varmas, Sahaayta provides general counselling through its own Counsellors who are proficient in eleven languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Fiji-Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Tulu, Arabic and Dutch.
Sucharita Varma and Ranjna Patel with the two plaques unveiled by Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa (Picture Supplied)
At its offices located at Level 1, Unit 6, 6 Osterley Way, Manukau, it offers a wide range of services such Anger and Anxiety Management, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Reducing Depression, Addressing Domestic Violence and Abuse, Managing Grief and Loss, Migrant Settlement Support, Parenting, Relationships, Self Esteem, Stress and Trauma Management.
Sahaayta Counsellors provide related services to those referred to the three branches of Gandhi Nivas, located at Otahuhu, Te Atatu Peninsula and Papakura.
About Gandhi Nivas
Gandhi Nivas is a partnership between Serenity Foundation, Counties Manukau Police and Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support. The Partnership was established in 2014, using a Lotteries Commission grant and funding from Total Healthcare PHO and other private funders.
The concept grew from discussions between Counties Manukau Police and its South Asian Police Advisory Board with the objective of providing early intervention and prevention services to people identified as at the risk of committing family violence to help them change their behaviour, reduce the likelihood of further family harm and increase safety for families.
Gandhi Nivas was established in Otahuhu in December 2014.
ACC provided a funding grant of $1.32 million in December 2016 to enable Gandhi Nivas to provide a full wrap-around service around the perpetrator, victim and family.
ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced at the opening of the second branch of Gandhi Nivas in Te Atatu Peninsula, West Auckland on Friday, August 16, 2018 that ACC would invest a further $1.7 million to support the expansion of Gandhi Nivas.
The amount will be provided over a three-year period, he had said.
“Gandhi Nivas puts families first, providing a safe environment for men to cool down in combination with counselling services it supports them as they work through their issues.
Gandhi Nivas also provides services and referrals that help keep women and children safe,” Mr Lees-Galloway had said.
Aman and Advay, holding the plaque dedicating Gandhi Nivas Papakura to their late father Vivek Varma (Picture Supplied)
Major Social Problem
Family Violence is a major social problem globally, disempowering and paralysing women physically, psychologically, sexually and economically.
One in three women face some form of violence in their homes; every four minutes, Police are called to a Family Violence incident and Police believe that 12% of women actually make the call.
Although there are some organisations that cater to the needs of women and children, there was a need to shift focus on involving men in prevention strategies. Services of these organisations are usually provided during the working week (Monday to Friday) hours, while most incidents occur in the evenings and on weekends.
Gandhi Nivas is a round-the-clock, round-the-year facility and is governed by a board.
A 2018 data shows that Indians and Fijian Indians feature heavily in the statistics for the services offered by Gandhi Nivas.