Thursday, May 23, 2024

Govt commits to action on sexual violence

Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Karen Chhour says Rape Awareness Week (6-10 May) is an important opportunity to acknowledge the continued effort required by Government and communities to ensure that all New Zealanders can live free from violence.

“With 1-in-3 women and 1-in-8 men experiencing sexual violence at some stage in their lifetime, it’s important that we acknowledge victims, take action to stop people using violence, highlight where people can get help and reinforce the government’s commitment to progress on all these issues,” said Minister Chhour.

“Rape Awareness Week is about raising awareness that this violence happens to people we know, people we love – and will happen to nearly a quarter of women, if it has not already. Rape is a confronting topic, but this week, of all weeks, we need to talk about it.

“These are crimes that cause lasting harm, impacting the health and mental health of victims. However, victims say their experience does not define them. They want to be fully seen, heard, respected, and supported to heal. This week, I want all victims to know that we care, we are listening, and government is working hard to enable change.

“Through our work to implement Te Aorerekura, our 25-year National Strategy for the prevention of family violence and sexual violence, and with government targets to reduce the number of people impacted by serious offending – including sexual assault – to 20,000 fewer by 2029, government will continue improving system responses and strengthening communities to stop family violence and sexual violence,” she said.

Acting Minister for Women, Louise Upston said everyone has a part to play in making sure New Zealand’s systems are fit for purpose and our homes and communities are safe.

“When I speak to women who are rape survivors, they tell me how important it is that they are heard and supported. Our workforces play a crucial role in ensuring safety and care for victims,” she said.

“I want to see continued improvements in the support we provide to communities, so that our workforces are confident and capable to respond to family violence and sexual violence.

“This week, we join the specialists and providers in communities who are speaking up to remind people to get help. SafetoTalk.nz is an excellent place to begin – a support channel that can be accessed through the phone, text, email, or live chat,” said Ms Upston.

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