The flip side of domestic violence

Editorial Two

Efforts to tackle the rising menace of domestic violence saw the emergence of a new initiative in South Auckland last week at a fundraising dinner for ‘Gandhi Nivas.’

Although the Project, essentially a temporary home for ‘bound persons’ with counselling and other facilities, has been in existence for about a year, it was only at the dinner that it was made widely known, partly to spread the good word and partly to ensure that the Project continues to gain public support.

Laudable initiative

The Editor of this newspaper is a part of the initiative, although its true author is Ranjna Patel, a fellow member at the South Asian Advisory Board of the Counties Manukau District Police. She and her Nirvana Health Group (incorporating East Tamaki Health Care) have worked hard to give meaning and purpose to ‘Gandhi Nivas.’

The services include planning safety strategies to reduce the likelihood of family violence. Bound persons are offered free accommodation for the duration of the Police Safety Order, access to further Stopping Violence Services (SVS) and information about other services they can access. The SVS approach is based on enabling people to take responsibility and be accountable for their behaviour.

Gandhi Nivas will cater to men of Indian origin in first stage and later work with Vic Tamaki (who now promotes the ‘It is Not OK Campaign and helps the Police on measures to combat family violence) for Maori and Pacific Island communities.

Gandhi Nivas can be an answer to increasing incidence of family violence.

Concerning Community

The Indian community, otherwise known for its placidity and trouble-free trait, is becoming a subject of concern with an increasing number of cases of domestic violence.

Many young women are being subject to physical, mental and verbal abuse, some attempt at suicide, while others suffer in silence, unable or unwilling to pursue the matter with the police or other social and community welfare agencies that would be ready to help.

This publication constantly receives complaints from irate neighbours, members of families or friends on the pain inflicted on hapless women. Tales of untold misery are received with increasing frequency but there is little scope for respite or relief.

The reason for such a sorry state of affairs among the Indian population is the victims themselves-young women who believe going public would be a shameful act.

Perceived stigma

They believe, quite erroneously, that a certain blasphemy would visit upon their homes and families if they brought their misery into the public domain.

Nothing could be farther from truth. Unlike perhaps some countries around the world, the New Zealand police are beyond reproach and encourage public interaction. They are friendly and willing to help.

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