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Turning the tide for family harm

"Turning the tide for family harm"

"I was in the Police car every week.

It was constant.

I would say I was quite aggressive but I haven’t seen the Police for more than a year now”.

So says one of the participants in Te Manu Tu Tuia, a family harm reduction programme in Hawke’s Bay which empowers couples to change their lives.

The programme, run by Innov8 Group, has helped 37 families.

It was developed by Jen Tua and Tania Luscombe, of Innov8, who led the family counselling, and Constable Sue Liley, of Flaxmere Neighbourhood Policing Team.

The results speak for themselves, says Sue, with 69 percent of couples who have taken part being violence-free.

The ‘whānau-centric’ programme has been running since 2015 when Sue saw the need to create a course in Flaxmere to address the high levels of family harm in the community.

It includes couples’ therapy weekend retreats, follow-up counselling and support network building.

It is the only couples-based course of its type.

It now also involves tamariki and wider whānau to help break the intergenerational cycle.

The three-month course is structured to move participants through shame to being empowered to regain their mana and develop their own whānau plans.

It involves group and private sessions which help them own their history and issues.

The 37 couples who have taken part have 102 tamariki between them.

They collectively had more than 1092 family harm incidents, many interactions with Oranga Tamariki, and most have had contact with Probation.

After Te Manu Tu Tuia, 69 per cent of those families are violence-free.

There has been a 57 per cent reduction in Police calls to participants’ homes; 21 couples have had no more contact with Police; and 11 have experienced a decrease in the level of violence.

After completing the course, 46 per cent of participants are employed, up from 8 per cent.

Another 8 percent are doing further training.

Sue and her team invested a huge amount of personal time, passion, energy and empathy – first in building trust with participants who previously had no trust in Police, and then in running Te Manu Tu Tuia.

“For those who have been brave enough to go through this life-changing kaupapa it has given them a brighter future together,” says Sue.

“It may even help turn the tide and prevent further criminal offenders coming through, full-stop.

“Our challenge is to keep this innovation going and work with partners, funders and community to see more whanau can be safer which helps make our country safer.

“‘Fix the homes, fix the streets’ is a mantra in our NPT.”


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