I became involved with Family Violence prevention work in the mid 1990’s when I worked as a community social worker in South Auckland. At that time, which coincided with the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act (1995) in New Zealand, I became a member of the fledgling South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network and benefited from the training the network offered. I became very aware that the majority of client families we worked with were experiencing Family Violence, or had done so in the past and were still affected by that experience. I also relised how often we had missed seeing the issue through our lack of awareness and training. The following opportunities contributed to the development of my awareness and expertise in this field:
- While completing my Masters in Social Work I was able to study the new legislation, its background, and implementation .
- I became a member of the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network (SAFVPN).
- I completed a year long Practicum with Auckland Health Promotion’s Family Violence Co-ordinator, working with the SAFVPN Co-ordinator and Management Committee and becoming involved in Awareness Raising work.
- I attended Domestic Violence Programme facilitator training with North Harbour Living Without Violence,
- and had opportunities for training with HAIP, who were pioneering these programmes in Hamilton, with the Auckland Domestic Violence Centre, and to participate in other Domestic Family Violence Prevention events.
- I was employed as SAFVPN’s Co-ordinator from 2000-2006, working on a daily basis with victims of Family Violence, sometimes with Perpetrators, and also with organizations and communities in the field.
- I served as a deputy on the Family Court’s Domestic Violence Act Approval Panel helping to assess applications to provide programmes prescribed under the Act.
- I have served on SAFVPN’s Governance Board for the last 3 years, and been a member for 18 years.
These rich learning experiences have led me to believe that:
- While working with Family Violence requires special knowledge and skill, this violence is so prevalent in our communities that everyone needs to be able to recognize it and know how to make an initial response that will be helpful and SAFE, and such training cannot be restricted to a few 'specialists'.
- Family Violence training should be integral to all training for the helping professions: for social services, health, education, and pastoral care, at the very least.
- Advocacy for Family Violence Prevention should not be left to victims, but is a responsibility to be taken on by everyone.
- That Family Violence is both a symptom and a cause of ongoing dis-ease and disturbance in our community and that both structural and individual causes of violence must be addressed·
- That Family Violence flourishes on the patriarchal beliefs, values, attitudes , laws, structures and systems on which our society is founded, and from which society is in no way yet liberated
- That colonization is a significant cause of violence in the whanau among Tangata Whenu.
- That the cultural dislocation experienced by immigrants to Aotearoa-New Zealand is a significant cause of violence in immigrant communities, as it is everywhere in the world
- That true prevention will only come from a focus on building responsible , healthy communities that support the nurturing role of family and whanau and which value and respect the life and worth of every individual, equally.
- and finally
- that the effort to make change should not be left solely to victims, but should be the serious responsibility of all. To this end we need to become well informed about the dynamics of Family Violence and about he ways we can help to prevent it rather than burdening those who have been traumatised, who may prefer to get on with their own healing and rebuilding of lives. This much we owe them. Those of us who have been fortunate to experience loving, nurturing and protective relationships need to open our eyes to the oppression and abuse that is expressed at all levels of society, and to work to promote a violence-free society of equality and respect.
Based on these beliefs, I am committed to promoting and providing awareness raising, education, and support which will contribute to Family Violence Prevention across the whole spectrum from:
Structural Change to Health Promotion at Policy and Commubnity level, to Education and Training, to interventions at whanau, family and individual levels.
I offer Domestic Violence Supervision, either 1:1 or group supervision, training for Professional Development in this field and consultancy to organisations developing Family Violence Prevention and Intervention services and associated Policy and Practice guidelines.
For information on upcoming Family Violence Prevention training that I offer go to Training Dates
on this website.