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Silent For Months, Migrant Women NGO Speaks Up

Shakti Community Council Inc. wishes to update members of the public on the status of their organisation, in light of the articles about Shakti published by the NZ Herald in April and May 2021.

As a non-profit community organization, Shakti believes it is their duty to be committed and accountable in their mission to end discrimination and gender-based violence and to support the overall health and well-being of migrant and refugee communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. “We welcome the independent review, announced by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in May 2021,” said Dr Shanthi Selvakumar, Chairperson of Shakti.

However, according to Dr Selvakumar, despite the independent review process, there are still people spreading unsubstantiated claims and allegations about Shakti through social media, in the community and through Government agencies and stakeholders. Meanwhile, Shakti Community Council is working to ensure that services for victims of family violence remain minimally disrupted. “We are deeply hurt to learn of the extent of the harassment from people who claim anonymity and victim status against our victim-centric support organisation. We have tried our best to reach out. However, as an organisation, we have a duty to protect the safety of our staff, clients and reputation. Regrettably, we need to consider legal action as a recourse going forward.”

Shakti is currently engaging with lawyers, and external advisors specialized in digital communications to assist in protecting the organisation and its people. “We are doing our best to keep operations going, and ensure vulnerable victims get the culturally specialist services they need,” said Dr Selvakumar.

Should any members of the public have information relating to individuals involved in creating harmful digital communications and engaging in defamatory statements against Shakti, and/ or are personally distressed by harmful digital communications, Shakti urges you to report to NetSafe or the Police to investigate further. For more information on the role of NetSafe and the Police on harmful digital communication, and offences related to such, please refer to https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/cybercrime-and-internet/harmful-digital-communications-hdc

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