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Violence Against Women In NZ, Major Report Release

Media Release
Roundtable on Violence Against Women
14 April 2009 for immediate release

Violence Against Women In Nz – Major Report Released

According to a major human rights report released today violence against women is an acute social problem in New Zealand.

The report, ‘It’s not ok’, the culmination of a yearlong project undertaken by the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School in New York, will be launched at 9am today in Wellington. The Centre studied violence against women in New Zealand in light of New Zealand’s commitments under international law. It recommends significant changes in policy approaches to violence against women.

“The recommendations support what community groups have been saying for a long time – services are underfunded, more support is needed for Maori to address violence against women and children, and we don’t have enough good evidence about what interventions work best in this country,” said Ruth Herbert, spokesperson for the New Zealand Roundtable on Violence Against Women who are hosting the launch.

The Roundtable on Violence Against Women have today released their own report that calls for an integrated plan of action involving government, community groups and women’s advocates and that addresses all forms of violence against women together.

“In recent years domestic violence and sexual violence have been treated as separate issues. The Leitner Report and our own research have found that if we really want this to be a country where women can live their lives free from violence, we need to change our approach. We need to look at the links between all the forms of violence that women experience and to make a long term commitment to initiatives that will prevent all forms of violence against women,” said Ms Herbert.

"Violence towards women is common in NZ – 1 in 3 have been abused by a partner; 1 in 4 suffer child sexual abuse; 1 in 3 have been sexually harassed; 1 in 10 are sexually assaulted by a non-partner. Around 32 women and girls are killed by assault each year. Many more women live in fear of violence."

“The Leitner Centre report puts us in the international spotlight regarding our efforts to protect women and children – and clearly there is a lot of room for improvement. We support the findings of the Leitner Centre report on domestic violence in NZ and urge the New Zealand Government to adopt their recommendations,” she said.

ENDS

Mr Jorge Contesse who headed the Leitner Center delegation to New Zealand in 2008 is in New Zealand this week to launch the report and to meet with Ministers and government and non- government agencies.

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