NZ Police and Pasifika Champions Unite Against Family Violence
In a groundbreaking effort to tackle family violence within Pasifika communities, Inspector Sila Fagaesea Siaki played a part in the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between Nga Vaka's Champions of Change and the Police.
As the Inspector overseeing Pacific responsiveness, Siaki expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, "This partnership is a crucial step toward empowering our communities to combat family violence in a way that is truly rooted in our Pasifika values."
Siaki, with 25 years of experience in the force, acknowledged the significance of the community-led, grassroots approach. "This initiative aligns with our commitment to be Pasifika first, respecting our cultural values and priorities before enforcing the law," he explained.
The NZ Police’s commitment to the Pasifika National Strategy, “O Le Taeao Fou” (Dawn of a New Day), is a pivotal aspect of the partnership. The strategy focuses on three key areas: enhancing the well-being of Pasifika communities, equipping police staff to engage positively with these communities, and aligning police priorities with partners to achieve better outcomes.
The collaboration, however, is not without its challenges. Siaki acknowledged the complexities of engaging diverse communities, aligning community aspirations with police functions, and managing the ambitious pace of change. He stressed the importance of time, the well-being of the team, and the need for the organization's collective support to navigate this cultural shift successfully.
At the core of the MOU is a commitment from the police to support the Champions of Change in addressing specific community needs, particularly in combating family violence. Siaki underscored the role of the MOU in providing a structured framework for tailored support, ensuring initiatives are effective and culturally sensitive.
In addition to the police force, Siaki recognized the crucial involvement of Pasefika Proud, emphasizing its role in aiding the community to bring about positive change.
"Pasefika Proud's support is instrumental in addressing family violence, ensuring our communities feel safe and supported," Siaki noted.
Looking ahead, Siaki expressed optimism about the initiative's potential impact. "We aim to see tangible results in reducing family violence, with Pasifika communities feeling empowered and their cultural practices respected," he stated.
The MOU signing signifies a transformative collaboration between law enforcement, community leaders, and support organizations. Inspector Siaki's involvement reflects a commitment to addressing family violence in Pasifika communities, marking a significant stride toward positive change.
Moving forward, the NZ Police will support community learning, collaborate with Champions to explore safe community reporting practices, and share insights to inform the implementation of action plans. This collective effort marks a significant step in fostering safer and more supportive Pasifika communities.
PASEFIKA PROUD - CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE
In 2010, the Pacific Advisory Group (PAG) to the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families conducted fono in four regions throughout the country. The purpose of each fono was to seek the views of Pacific people and practitioners on how best to address family violence in their communities.
In June of the same year, the culmination of these regional discussions resulted in the Champions of Change fono – a ‘Call to Action.’ The participants at this fono called for the inclusion of culture as the basis for developing new and more robust programme approaches in service provision. The fono also highlighted the importance of Pacific peoples taking the lead in developing a programme of action to prevent and stop violence in Pacific families and communities.
At the Champions of Change Fono, participants identified that any serious approach to addressing violence in Pacific families would require a critical exploration of fundamental issues around culture, its values, practices, traditional contexts, and its ability to encompass the dynamics of contemporary Western society.
Two proposals that were strongly supported at this fono were:
- The community needs to take primary responsibility for leading the development of a programme of action to prevent and ultimately stop family violence.
- There is a need to explore how service provision could incorporate culture as the basis for constructing new and more robust programme approaches.
In March 2011, Hon Tariana Turia, as Minister responsible for Whanau Ora, Family Violence and Disability Initiatives, secured government funding for the development and delivery of a family violence training programme, aimed at building the capacity and capability of Pacific family violence practitioners and providers.
In the same year Pasefika Proud: Our Families, Our People, Our Responsibility took flight as a Pacific-owned initiative drawing on cultural values and strengths to build family and community wellbeing to prevent and address violence.
New training programmes would bring together cultural knowledge and evidence-based prevention and intervention delivery approaches designed to be appropriate and responsive to the diverse circumstances of victims, perpetrators, and their families.
Nga Vaka o Kāiga Tapu (Nga Vaka) is a Pasefika Proud key milestone. Launched in 2012, Nga Vaka is community developed, community owned and community mandated, providing an overarching conceptual framework and eight ethnic-specific cultural frameworks to prevent and address family violence in New Zealand. The frameworks are rich with ethnic-specific values and concepts on the understanding that culture must be the basis for constructing any solution to family violence. Nga Vaka (and the ethnic-specific cultural frameworks) underpins all aspects of Pasefika Proud and our Pathways for Change framework.