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Family Violence in South Auckland Trending Down

4 April 2016

Early Intervention shows Family Violence in South Auckland Trending Down

Otahuhu’s early domestic violence intervention programme, Gandhi Nivas, is celebrating not only its first anniversary, but an emerging trend of reduced offending.

A study by Massey University’s School of Psychology has found a 43.75% drop in the number of men offending after intervention, and a 57.6% decrease in the frequency of offending, after intervention.

Gandhi Nivas is a programme that provides emergency housing, counselling and referral to social services for men who have either been issued with a Police Safety Order*, or are otherwise involved in Police matters related to family violence.

The Massey University senior researchers, Mandy Morgan and Leigh Coombes,believe the one-year findings support the effectiveness of the innovative programme, and praise Gandhi Nivas for its rapid response to referrals from Counties Manukau Police, the service’s high standard of community leadership, and its culturally appropriate services, Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support.

Better outcomes for victims & perpetrators

Gandhi Nivas board chair Ranjna Patel is pleased with the results and agrees they show the programme assists in achieving better outcomes for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

“For victims, it provides a measure of safety by allowing them to stay in their own homes without having to be with the offender or would-be offender; for perpetrators, it provides them the immediate help they need not to offend, and to get critical counselling,” Mrs Patel says.

It was anticipated that Gandhi Nivas would be used mainly by Indian and Fijian men, yet one third of users have been Maori and Pasifika and the remainder‘other Asian’, Middle Eastern and European men.

Bigger dataset will bring more robust findings

The researchers add that more work needs to be done to confirm the downward trend on offending.

“At this point there is insufficient data for a robust analysis of the statistical significance of trends that are showing promising indications of reduced family violence offending after intake at Gandhi Nivas. Nonetheless there are clear trends towards decreased frequency in offending after intake.

“We propose a follow up study later this year when a dataset for more than 100 Gandhi Nivas clients who are 12 months or more from their first intake date can be provided.”

Men praise Gandhi Nivas

Testimonials from the men who have been referred to Gandhi Nivas are also praising the programme:

“When I came here, I was alone and depressed but they treated me with respect and went out of their way to help me. They were always kind and gave me a lot of encouragement. I was also provided with a counsellor, which was most helpful. I am very thankful for all the help,” says a 55-year-old Fijian Indian man who used the service in 2015.

This from a 22-year-old Indian man: “My stay at Gandhi Nivas helped me clear my head and give me a place to cool down and think things through, I am grateful for the services offered...the counselling helped me realise the error in my ways and helped me not make the same mistake again.”

Facts & figures: a snapshot

• Number of men attending over 12 months: 103, 97% had police records.

• Of the 97, 60% had no record of family violence, but had records of other offences associated with, or indicated risk of, family violence, eg alcohol, trespass, sexual or non-compliance (not turning up to a court date) matters.

• Number of men committing family violence offences 12 months prior to engaging with GN: 16 men committed 33 offences.

• Number of men committing family violence offences after intervention: Seven committed 14 offences.

• Decrease in the frequency of offending after intervention: 57.6%

• 90% of men referred to Gandhi Nivas had intervention within 24 hours.

• Across all years prior to intake, the average number of offences annually per offender was 2.26.

Post-intake, the average number of offences was two.

• The comparison of average recorded offences prior to and after intake shows an 11.1% decrease in the number of recorded offences.

• The average number of occurrences involving offenders decreased after intake by 13.6%.


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