National violence programme for Pasifika youth kicks off

The first national violence programme for Pasifika youth has kicked off, with nearly six million dollars coming from government.

Large numbers of Pasifika teens hide their agony, their ability to lead fulfilled lives stolen by violence.

“You know that sort of sexual harm it destroys families and when it destroys families it destroys communities,” said Dr Siale Foliaki.

Research has revealed they are three times more likely to be exposed to family violence than anyone else while ACC figures show higher rates of assault claims with worse injuries.

“The social cost for only intervening or acting after our families are harmed is just too great, we want to stop the violence before it starts,” says Monique Faleafa from Pasifika mental health provider, Le Va.

Three quarters of violence against Pasifika youth isn't reported with research showing it takes seven to thirteen years for a sexual assault to be revealed. 

“There's some strong messages that the culture sends to them about the importance of family, the importance of respect for your elders, so when this type of harm is experienced, that’s a huge conflict to them,” Dr Foliaki said.

Le Va will be working with a variety of groups at grassroots level to get help as soon as possible for those who need it.