Ardern says rise in family and sexual violence a 'stain on our society' ahead of Wellington protest

Imogen Wells
Source: 1News

Jacinda Ardern has called the country’s sexual and family violence rates a “stain on our society”, ahead of tonight’s rally against sexual violence in Wellington.

Hundreds of residents in the capital are expected to turn out to protest against the city’s rising sexual assault and harassment incidents.

Reports of sexual assault and related offences have increased by nearly 50 per cent in the Wellington region over the past five years, according to police data.

"We have a role as Government, but we all do in changing some of what we have seen day to day in our society,” said the Prime Minister in relation to preventing sexual violence.

The Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson, will be speaking at tonight’s event, along with a number of young Wellingtonians who say they are fed-up with not feeling safe in their city.

Rally organiser Jahla Lawrence told TVNZ’s Breakfast that people in the capital are becoming restless and want action.

“Everyone that we’re talking to has said they’ve been having these types of conversations with their friends for months, for years, and that something has to change,” she said.

Lawrence and other organisers are calling for a new plan for Wellington’s CBD, for hospitality businesses to create strategies to keep patrons safe, and for further funding towards sexual violence prevention initiatives and education.