Waitakere Children and Family Violence



The Waitakere Children and Family Violence Project has completed its research phase!

We are now making plans towards developing community action aimed at smartening up our response to children exposed to violence between adults in their families. This action will be based on the research findings, which strongly indicate an inadequate response to the impact such violence can have on children.

As one young adult told the project’s survey about the violence she had been exposed to:

‘I would have liked to live in a society where these events were acknowledged and clearly constructed as wrong and inappropriate.’

And another said she would have liked:

‘Having it talked about when I was younger so I felt I was accepted and could seek help from teachers etc.’

With the backing of WAVES, the project proposes that a multi-sector network is developed to create an interactive process for identifying, listening to, supporting and assisting the recovery of children and young people struggling with the effects of family violence. The network would also be listening to its members about their needs in terms of education and training, to agencies and schools about how they can be part of the process and to families about their issues.

The network would be responsive to the Government’s Children’s Action Plan and would set out to create a ready community outreach offering services to children suffering from trauma at all ages and stages. We need to convince funders that this is a worthy cause in terms of improving outcomes for children and society.

The research findings are to be found to the left – the initial report on consultation with Waitakere schools and social services (October 2012), the report on consultation with young adults who were exposed to family violence as children (August 2013) and the final report, including a breakdown of literature findings related to children’s needs and how to meet those needs (August 2013). A final report including recommendations has been sent to the Waitakere Taskforce on Family Violence for their consideration. Lists of some of the literature used during the project are also posted.

But we need YOU on board. This may mean making a personal commitment to a child-centred approach to working with families, in which you prioritise children’s needs and are open to updating or refreshing your knowledge and skills. You may be ready for this right now, but your organisation may need your encouragement to come on board in terms of working openly and collaboratively across agencies and sectors and in becoming trauma-informed. 

This is a great adventure and whose time is well and truly due.

Be a Juvenist, commit to Juvenism!

Children should always be our priority.

WAVES hopes to provide plenty of opportunity for local practitioners to discuss, question and debate the proposal before taking it much further. It is important that people understand it well and get to air their doubts, passions and ideas before either dismissing or committing to it. Together, we can stand proud and strong, like the proverbial totara tree.

 “He taonga nui a tatou tamariki”  

Our kids, our future, our responsibility