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'Woeful' level of resourcing to combat violence

Harawira highlights 'woeful' level of resourcing to combat family violence

Hone Harawira
Member of Parliament for Tai Tokerau

"We know there's a big problem with the increasing level of family violence," says Hone Harawira, Maori Party MP for the Tai Tokerau, "and we know that we have to be part of the solution, particularly in Maori communities."

"But we are also really concerned at the woeful level of government support for initiatives aimed at reducing family violence," said Harawira. Police statistics for 2002-2003 show that 46 out of 116 (40%) of all homicides were domestic violence related.

"Family violence impacts on everyone. It destroys those families who experience it, it breaks down the trust within the wider whanau and their communities, it leads to the intervention of health and welfare services, and eventually the police, the courts, the jails, the probation service - it just doesn't stop. Family violence is an issue for the whole of our society."

"A lot of the early work to deal with victims of family violence, was done through groups like Women's Refuge who fought to set up support services way back in the 1970s, and they've been doing it for a pittance ever since."

"They are supposed to be the place of last resort, but the reality is they are often the first one that overworked social services and police turn to for women suffering hardship."

"The work of Women's Refuge deserves to be acknowledged, and their pleas for better and broader ranges of services should be actively supported if we are to reduce family violence"

"Government's Family Violence Taskforce, and pre-Budget announcement of $9 million to address family violence, is simply not enough," says Mr Harawira. "Women's Refuge are telling us that their houses are full, and that there is still an ever-increasing demand on their services."

"The responsibility for dealing with this rests with both the government and those communities where family violence occurs," Mr Harawira said.

"Women's Refuge is working on a plan to help support the increasing numbers of Maori women and children being subjected to family violence. We support that initiative, and we are more than happy to work with them, and with government to deal with this problem.

ENDS

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