First ever violence prevention programme for young Pasifika

By Jessica Tyson

Aotearoa's first national violence prevention programme specifically for young Pasifika people has been launched.

Atu-Mai, run by Pasifika organisation Le Va, aims to address the high rates of family violence and sexual harm experienced by young Pasifika people.

Le Va’s research has identified conditions and risk factors unique to the group, different from the risk factors for the general New Zealand population.

Le Va chief executive Dr Monique Faleafa says, “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."

Atu-Mai also aims to make it easier for young people to report violence, since almost 80 per cent of incidents are not reported, according to ACC's acting chief customer officer Emma Powell.

“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.”

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