Violence prevention programme for Pasifika young people

Press Release – Atu-Mai

First national violence prevention programme for Pasifika young people launched today

Atu-Mai, New Zealand’s first national violence prevention programme for Pasifika young people, was launched in Auckland today by ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The evidence-based programme will be delivered by innovative Pasifika organisation Le Va.

ACC says the purpose of the programme is to address the high rates of family violence and sexual harm experienced by Pasifika young people, alongside low reporting behaviour and disproportionately low access rates to existing health and social services.

“Seventy-six per cent of violence is not reported. Low reporting of violence limits our understanding of harm in communities and can mask the extent of the problem. We know that there are cultural factors that contribute to low access to help for Pasifika young people,” says ACC’s acting chief customer officer, Emma Powell.

Le Va’s research over two years has identified the underlying conditions, risk factors and protective factors for violence, that are unique to Pasifika young people and different from the risk factors for the general New Zealand population.

Chief executive for Le Va Dr Monique Faleafa says “Violence can scar the lives of individuals and families for decades. When our young Pasifika people are exposed to violence, they are at increased risk of a range of behavioural, physical, emotional and mental health problems, including being at higher risk of suicide and a victim and or an offender of further violence”.

“This new service is a violence prevention programme that supports Pasifika young people to be confident and resilient, and experience healthy family and social relationships.

“Atu-Mai will focus on enhancing factors that provide protection from violence and reduce the likelihood of being a victim or offender of violence in the first place”.

“We want to equip Pasifika young people and their families with the right knowledge and tools to live free from violence and sexual harm. Atu-Mai is not a campaign, we’re taking an educational focus and skills-based approach aiming for behavioural change across generations,” says Dr Faleafa.

Le Va will work with ACC, Pasifika young people, community groups, their expert advisory group and other organisations to ensure a coordinated approach.

“We know that we all need to take collective responsibility and work together to tackle this challenge head on, and we’ll be complementing existing programmes and reinforcing support services to ensure prevention at all levels” says Dr Faleafa.

Atu-Mai will be measured and evaluated over time to ensure the desired outcomes are met.

Le Va is a Pasifika organisation that specialises in Pasifika youth mental health and wellbeing. Le Va’s purpose is to support Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential. The organisation provides evidence-based resources, information, knowledge and support services for the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes.

Ms Powell says we know there are strong cultural traditions that must be considered with care. “We trust in Le Va’s expertise, knowledge and ability to communicate in a way that works best for our Pasifika communities”.

For more information about Atu-Mai go to www.leva.co.nz

ENDS

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