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National FVSV Workforce Survey Launched Addressing Knowledge Gap About Māori Kaimahi & Kaupapa Māori Services

A new significant tangata whenua national survey has been launched online seeking to canvass anonymously thousands of workers in the family and sexual violence sector to address the huge knowledge gap that currently exists.

Official figures* show that Māori are disproportionately affected by family violence, sexual violence, and violence within whānau. Two out of three women impacted are wahine Māori.

Consequently, the knock-on pressure on the Kaimahi Māori and kaupapa Māori service provider workforce working with whanau living with violence is unprecedented.

However, there is no evidential reporting of the dynamics and complexities facing this part of the sector.

Insightful data will be sought, including where the workforce is located, their training background, how they are remunerated, how they use tikanga Māori in the work they do, how mātauranga Māori from waiata to pūrākau informs their practices, how they work safely to support families, and what retains them or even restrains them in delivering to an ever-increasing demand occurring right across the country.

This prompted Te Pūkotahitanga** an independent ministerial advisory group advising Hon. Karen Chhour to make it a work programme priority. It has commissioned Te Rau Ora to conduct formalised research.

“It is our intention that these results will feed into foundational planning of the first ever, one hundred percent focussed, Workforce Strategy for Māori,” said Poata Watene, Co-Chair of Te Pūkotahitanga.

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“An interconnected sector response is critical. In the past, this has been largely driven, financed, and controlled from a Crown agency perspective, not a tangata whenua and community response.”

“However, we’re hoping that this principled research will facilitate that space and those important conversations,” he said

The survey questions are quite specific. Project Co-Leads Kirimatao Paipa and Rolinda Karapu say the line of inquiry was informed from over 30 years experience in family violence, the literature review and a smaller-scale pilot survey.

“While perhaps there may have been smaller versions in the past, what we found in our literature review was a lack of substantial data and research,” Ms Karapu said.

An unregulated family violence and sexual violence workforce within the sector adds to the complexity. While nurses and social workers have a national workforce strategy – this part of the sector doesn’t.

“It’s become very apparent that this workforce does not have a home,” said Ms Paipa.

Over the last two decades, it has grown exponentially. Once,there were only specialist agencies like refuges where theircore business was family violence. Plus, there were specialiststopping violence programmes for men.

“Now, you've got everyone involved including both the regulated and the unregulated. We're just trying to understand what we look like.”

They hope that the research will lead to recognising the experience and expertise of the unregulated workforcealongside the traditional promotion of business qualifications.

“Ultimately, we want it to underpin the development of great indigenous programmes.”

The research Co-Leads believe that the lack of analysisaround violence may also be placing kaimahi in positions of vulnerability and danger.

“One of the aims is to understand what our workforce looks like now, both the ageing workforce departing versus theyounger, least experienced and less knowledgeable workforce entering the sector.”

The survey will build an essential picture from the flaxroots of the type of seasoned experience, knowledge, and analysis it takes to safely operate in the community in sometimes highly volatile situations out in the field.

Non-Māori NGOs with contracts servicing Māori with high needs is another area of vulnerability the researchers are witnessing in their training wānanga.

“They may have staff with the necessary qualifications with titles like ‘Team Lead’ or ‘Specialist’, but some feel they don't have the specialist supervision or support to do this type of work,” Ms Paipa said.

The survey will be available until 30 June here:

Left to Right: Taina Awa (Project Co-ordinator), Kirimatao Paipa and Rolinda Karapu (Project Co-Leads).(Photo/Supplied)

There will be a follow-on regional hui facilitated by Te Pūkotahitanga in partnership with Te Rau Ora for the purpose of exploring face-to-face with kaimahi into the survey further. The final report will be released at the end of 2024 at a national hui.

“We want to acknowledge the hard work of all our Māori communities who have actually been the ones that havecarried the kaupapa right up till today on an oily rag,” said Ms Karapu.

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