Solutions to violence lie within our connected communities

EDITORIAL

The fact 97.2 percent of Gisborne people say they feel safe in their home, the highest rate to do so in the country — compared to a nationwide 94.3 percent — is an interesting result for the region with the highest levels of family violence in New Zealand.

Is this an insight into our most pressing social problem, showing the normalisation and acceptance of violence in too many homes? Or unblinking protection of the family, selective memory and an aptitude for forgiveness? No doubt also many marginalised people who are not reached by the nation’s data-gatherers.

The statistic comes from fresh data just released by government agency Superu, following its 2016 Families and Whanau Status Report which drew from multiple government datasets.

Gisborne people also report the strongest family and community connections in the country, repeating a finding of the 2013 Sovereign Wellbeing Index, and the highest rates of volunteerism — 53.6 percent doing voluntary work in the four weeks prior to the 2013 Census, compared to 45.6 percent nationally.

Within these two much more encouraging top-of-the-table results could lie part of the answer to our violence problem, if our communites can better harness these connections and generosity to this cause.

An opportunity to play a part in such responses comes on Tuesday next week, when the public are invited to help build a Tairawhiti Community Safety Action Plan.

Two 90-minute meetings will be held at the Shark Bar of the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club, the first from 12 midday and the second at 5pm. Community input is sought for this action plan on primary prevention of family violence, and safety of vulnerable adults and the disabled, along with community safety action.

Another result highlighted by Superu that should energise government agencies to review how their services are delivered in Tairawhiti, and support community-driven solutions, is the finding that Gisborne people were least likely to report easy access to services — 80.5 percent versus 91.4 percent nationally.

The fact 97.2 percent of Gisborne people say they feel safe in their home, the highest rate to do so in the country — compared to a nationwide 94.3 percent — is an interesting result for the region with the highest levels of family violence in New Zealand.

Is this an insight into our most pressing social problem, showing the normalisation and acceptance of violence in too many homes? Or unblinking protection of the family, selective memory and an aptitude for forgiveness? No doubt also many marginalised people who are not reached by the nation’s data-gatherers.

The statistic comes from fresh data just released by government agency Superu, following its 2016 Families and Whanau Status Report which drew from multiple government datasets.

Gisborne people also report the strongest family and community connections in the country, repeating a finding of the 2013 Sovereign Wellbeing Index, and the highest rates of volunteerism — 53.6 percent doing voluntary work in the four weeks prior to the 2013 Census, compared to 45.6 percent nationally.

Within these two much more encouraging top-of-the-table results could lie part of the answer to our violence problem, if our communites can better harness these connections and generosity to this cause.

An opportunity to play a part in such responses comes on Tuesday next week, when the public are invited to help build a Tairawhiti Community Safety Action Plan.

Two 90-minute meetings will be held at the Shark Bar of the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club, the first from 12 midday and the second at 5pm. Community input is sought for this action plan on primary prevention of family violence, and safety of vulnerable adults and the disabled, along with community safety action.

Another result highlighted by Superu that should energise government agencies to review how their services are delivered in Tairawhiti, and support community-driven solutions, is the finding that Gisborne people were least likely to report easy access to services — 80.5 percent versus 91.4 percent nationally.

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