Responses to violence against women

Increasing women’s safety from violence requires interventions at four levels: promoting a safe society; preventing violence before it occurs; responding to violent incidents when they occur and preventing violence from recurring; and longer-term responses to restore victim/survivors’ well-being.

Victim/survivors require different service responses, at different times in the recovery process, and depending on their victimisation history.  The impacts of violence are more serious for women who experience severe, long-term or repeated violence.  There are also different models of service provision that operate within kaupapa Māori frameworks.  These organisations offer holistic services to support the recovery of women, children and whānau, underpinned by Māori cultural values, beliefs and practices.

Friends, family and whānau are often the first people women tell about violence.  They can be an important source of support, but do not always know how to get the professional help women need to end the violence and deal with its impacts.

As a result of initiatives such as the ‘It’s not OK’ campaign, more people are taking action on IPV and family violence, particularly Māori and Pacific women.  There is less awareness about how to help victims of sexual violence.  They are often not believed, or are blamed for their own victimisation, largely because of widespread myths. Negative reactions to women’s disclosures of violence can deter further help seeking, and many victims might not get the help they need.

Men have an essential role in reducing and preventing violence. Programmes aimed at preventing violence before it occurs need to be targeted at women and men, and activities such as the White Ribbon Campaign are visible signs that men are part of the solution. There also need to be services to address attitudes and behaviours of men who have used violence.