Gender: IWD 2017 campaign theme - #BeBoldForChange
(caption for the above picture: Participants at Shakti Christchurch's International Women's Day event on March 8)
Wellington needs its women refuge up and alive: Shakti
The Christchurch chapter of Shakti organised a panel discussion on the theme – No Equality Without Diversity, marking the City's International Women's Day on March 8. In attendance were volunteers of Shakti, Anne Galloway, Christchurch City Councillor, Surinder Tandon, President of Christchurch Multicultural Council, Archna Tandon, Chairperson, Shakti, Christchurch, and representatives from Canterbury Police Detective Sergeant Nicola Reeves and Constable Emily Noonan.
Taking issue with the recent decision by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to stop funding Shakti Wellington Refuge, Archna Tandon said, “We are not happy with MSD’s decision and were quite taken aback. This shows that the fight for women issues, especially those from migrant groups, still has a long way to go.”
Referring to the data from Shakti Wellington which notes that it aided over 350 women in 2016 with over 200 referrals coming in from the police, she added,“Wellington needs its women refuge up and alive.”
Detective Sergeant Nicola Reeves also acknowledged the role Shakti plays in Christchurch in helping victims of domestic violence. She also elaborated on the Integrated Safety Response (ISR), whose pilots are already launched – which will see core agencies closely working together to support victims – Police, CYF, Corrections, Health, specialist family violence NGOs and kaupapa Māori services will work as a team.
A key feature of ISR is the identification of high risk victims and an independent family violence specialist to support these victims to reduce the risk of further violence. The new approach has a family/whānau focus – it aims to assess and support the whole family’s needs.
Open letter to all Shakti friends, supporters, women’s and feminist organisations locally and internationally
Tēnā koutou katoa,
We are writing to you to request support and solidarity for an issue we have been struggling with for many years now. As some of you may know, Shakti Wellington opened a refuge in 2014 after the murders of two migrant women in Wellington due to domestic violence - Sarwan Lata Singh and Mei Fan. We knew then, as much as we know now, that those women should have had access to refuge services that understood their cultural contexts.
Last year, Shakti was contracted by Ministry of Social Development to conduct a needs analysis and the resulting evidence pointed to a need for specialist refuge services for migrant and refugee women needing intervention and support from family violence. Furthermore, Shakti Wellington has been able to practically evidence the need by servicing over 350 women in 2016, with over 200 referrals coming in from the police. This year, funding for Shakti Wellington Refuge was categorically declined by the Ministry of Social Development despite this needs analysis. We see this as an ongoing issue of structural racism against migrant women preventing us to self-determine our own services and support our people.
We want to invite you and/or your organisation to support our campaign to Save Shakti Wellington Refuge. Here are some ways you can support:
- Put out a statement from your organisation in support of Save Shakti Wellington Refuge
- Write to your local MP and newspapers to highlight this issue
- Sign our petition www.shakti.org.nz or contact us on 0800 SHAKTI
- Promote our campaign materials on social media and through your networks
- Provide permission to list your organisation as a supporter of this campaign in our campaign material
- Organise a fundraiser for Shakti Wellington Refuge
- Use our hashtag on social media platforms #SaveShaktiWellingtonRefuge and #NoEqualityWithoutDiversity
- Donate to Shakti Wellington Refuge 01-0183-0243434-05
We appreciate any support you can provide as an individual or as an organisation.
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou,
Shakti Community Council Inc.
Family violence laws introduced in Parliament
The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill was introduced to Parliament on March 15 to overhaul the Domestic Violence Act, amend six Acts and make consequential changes to over thirty pieces of law. Key provisions of the Bill includes:
- getting help to those in need without them necessarily having to go to court;
- ensuring all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared;
- putting the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions;
- creating three new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry and assault on a family member;
- making it easier to apply for a Protection Order, allowing others to apply on a victim’s behalf, and better providing for the rights of children under Protection Orders;
- making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims;
- wider range of programmes able to be ordered when a Protection Order is imposed;
- making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing;
- supporting an effective system of information sharing across all those dealing with family violence.