A commitment from government to include groups who work with victims and perpetrators of family violence in any plan to end family violence was the aim of a march to Parliament.

Tauawhi Men’s Centre co-ordinator Tim Marshall, SafeMan SafeFamily (SMSF) founder Vic Tamati and Male Survivors Aotearoa (MSA) national advocate Ken Clearwater led a hikoi on to parliament grounds on Thursday to ask the Government to commit to creating a cross-party strategy to end family violence.

Published in Gisborn Herald

Members of the South Island-based Male Survivors Aotearoa travelled up on horseback. Tauawhi Men’s Centre and SMSF used more conventional methods of travel to get to the capital. The groups met up at Te Papa and marched along the waterfront before making their way to Parliament.

“This was a request to Government to realise that if you’re working on a strategy to end family violence, you need to talk to the people who are the victims and perpetrators, or both, and those who work with them,” Mr Marshall said.

More than 100 people joined the group on the march and at Parliament.

Green Party MP Jan Logie, Labour MP Poto Williams, National Party MPs Alfred Ngaro and Louise Upston and Labour MPs Kiri Allan and Meka Whaitiri were in attendance.

“For us it was cool to see government representatives and others who support us, show up,” Mr Marshall said.

“The main thing we want is for the parliamentarians to agree on this side of the election to commit to doing this.

“Even though the House has risen and they are in election mode, our mahi still carries on. It doesn’t stop,” he said.

“These are diverse groups of people who came together to make parliament realise that it is a whole-of-government issue, not just for one party.

“Jan said to us that they are working on a strategy but it’s obviously people in government, not the people like us who talk daily to those mostly affected by the changes they make.”

“It is generational trauma men face and it’s going to take a generation to change it for the next generation.

“You have to realise there is no short-term fix. We need a long- term strategy,” Mr Marshall said.

He said they have the opportunity for follow up meetings with government representatives.

“Hopefully Vic, Phil, Ken and I can be a part of that conversation.”

By Matai O’Connor
Published in Gisborn Herald
8 August 2020