Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New sexual violence prevention plan for Pōneke

Wellington City Council has unveiled a new Sexual Violence Prevention Roadmap and Action Plan.

This plan was developed by the Sexual Violence Prevention Lead Jahla Lawrence.

Ms Lawrence joined the Council on contract two years ago after leading a 500-people strong rally against sexual violence in the region.

“ACC, the lead provider of sexual violence prevention in Aotearoa, saw what has been accomplished over the past two years and offered up a new fully funded role dedicated to helping support community-led violence prevention efforts,” Council said in a statement.

Wellington City Council is one of three partners across Aotearoa; joining partners in South Auckland and Te Tau Ihu (top of the South Island).

Tallulah Cardno (pictured) recently started as Wellington City Council’s new Sexual Violence Prevention Advisor.

She initially began work at Rape Prevention Education in Auckland, which developed into a passion for working a space where she got to speak about healthy relationships and consent. She then moved on to Red Cross as one of their Youth Engagement Advisors, working with young people and focusing on bringing inclusivity, safety and accessibility to everyone.  

“I left my previous job at New Zealand Red Cross to have a baby, and I wasn’t planning on coming back to work any time soon, but then I saw this role being advertised and as soon as I saw the job description, I knew there was no way I couldn’t apply. If I didn’t apply for this role, I would regret it for the rest of my life,” she says.

“I was always known in my social circles as ‘the feminist’, asking you know, are we being respectful of people? And now I’m a professional feminist.”

Ms Cardno says she has been using her previous experiences to aide her new role at Council, which aims to deliver on key pieces of work from Te Aorerekura (the national strategy) that will eliminate family and sexual violence.

“It’s essentially focused on community mobilisation and looking at what is happening in community spaces from a prevention lens, and how can we build on them or bridge any gaps.”

Right now, she is focusing on sexual harm in the student community and the upcoming university Orientation Weeks, and is looking forward to shining a light on hidden prevention efforts throughout the community. 

“There are so many actions that small groups can take to prevent sexual violence. We as a big organisation get to front this.”

“Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be done by the very passionate few alone, so having these roles is something that I think all councils should have. 

“Council has quite a radical approach in the way we’re working, and I’m excited to work with smaller organisations who may not necessarily think they’re doing sexual violence prevention work, but they are, we can identify and amplify them. In the end, I want my city to be safe from sexual violence,” she says.

Read the Roadmap and Action Plan.

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