RespectEd Aotearoa participated in the Pūroro Rangaranga | Social, Cultural and Economic Committee meeting held 2 September 2021 and commented on what we would like to see more of as part of The Pōneke Promise. The Pōneke Promise is a coordinated, community driven initiative creating collective change to keep our city safe. Here is a link to the video recording; public participation starts approximately 5 minutes in.
A few highlights:
Thursdays in Black, a student-led, nationwide university student-oriented group that focuses on sexual violence prevention and supporting survivors of sexual violence, was the first to speak. They discuss sexual violence in the context of university students, the correlation of alcohol abuse to sexual harm, and the need for effective preventative measures, such as consent education.
Chief Exec Fiona McNamara of RespectEd Aotearoa comes on after and reinforced the need to “increase focus and spending on sexual harm prevention and response across all ages and to all parts of our community.” Funding needs also to be long-term, to ensure it can be sustained beyond a 3-year cycle. She also outlines some key initiatives that the increased funding would support, such as in hospitality environments. These include bystander training, consent education, and a safer bars accreditation scheme, the latter of which RespectEd Aotearoa has advocated for the past 10 years. Beyond prevention, funding needs to continue to focus on response as well, particularly in services that support survivors of sexual harm as well as services that work with those that do harm.
Following this, representatives from the Wellington branch of National Council of Women State stressed the importance of Wellington City’s commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. This commitment would involve applying a gender lens to all policy and decisions made. The Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan that is currently underway was also praised, but more could be done, such as “develop[ing] a strategy for eliminating sexual violence and unite [complementary] initiatives in this way… [that currently] The Pōneke Promise doesn’t completely satisfy.
Watch the full video on Youtube.