Te Rito South Canterbury’s Amanda Hawker, co-ordinator of the multi-organisation family harm prevention initiative in the region, takes part in The Courier‘s Five Questions series.
Q What is Te Rito?
Te Rito is a family harm prevention initiative.
It is a collaboration made up of members from agencies – government and non-government – around South Canterbury that have a stake in family harm prevention.
There are 15 member organisations showing their commitment to ending family harm.
Members are Family Works South Canterbury, Mid South Island Women’s Refuge and Family Safety Services, Timaru Police, Safer Communities, Violence Intervention Programme Coordinators SCDHB, Timaru District Family Court, Ministry of Social Development, Arowhenua Whanau Services, Fale Pasifika O Aoraki Trust, Aoraki Multicultural Council, YMCA South Canterbury, Stopping Violence Services, Anglican Care, Zonta, White Ribbon ambassador, South Canterbury Rugby Football Union.
Q Why was it set up and how long has it been running?
Te Rito South Canterbury is our response to the NZ Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2002.
This was set out to rethink how local communities address family harm and aims to get communities thinking about what works for them through building awareness, providing education opportunities and promoting safe families/whanau.
This Te Rito collaboration has been around about 10 years.
Q What has Te Rito been working on recently or has coming up?
We’re just about to release a new information pamphlet detailing what support services are available for those who use family harm and want to stop their problematic behaviour.
These will be available for agencies and public.
The pamphlets will complement the information we provide already for those who want to get out of a situation of family harm, and our website (www.teritosc.org.nz).
We’re also always on the lookout for trainers to bring in for education, and looking at upcoming events such as White Ribbon.
Q What’s changed for the organisation since it began operating?
Three years ago a co-ordinator was appointed (that’s my role) in order to streamline the process of making our ideas and targets happen.
So I work with the support of the members to make things happen, rather than them having to try to fit in projects with their own – often really demanding – job roles.
It’s given us heaps more flexibility and allowed more developments.
It is really important that we share our knowledge and resources to improve access to these services and to mobilise communities to change attitudes and behaviour to towards family violence/harm.
Q How can the South Canterbury community support the work of Te Rito?
Te Rito encourages the community to come out to education events that we have on – family harm is not just a personal issue, it’s a social/community issue that affects everyone, so everyone has a role to play in creating a safer South Canterbury.
Our biggest drives are to empower people to know that there are support services out there that can support you to live the safe life you want to live, and how to access them.
Speak up and get help – it’s a huge step but it’s so worth it.