The rates of Māori women taking their lives has increased by 3.5 times over the past decade, the disparity is greater for females as Māori females are more than twice as likely as non-Māori females to take their lives.
Family violence in New Zealand is a serious public health issue which disproportionally has affected whānau. Traumatised women who seek help or safety maybe at greater risk of self-harm or suicide attempts. Screening of whānau and intimate partner violence occurs in health and social service settings yet there is insufficient evidence to suggest its effect on outcomes like the early detection and prevention of self- harm or suicidality or the level of harm that may arise from screening. The potential risk is suicide may go unrecognised and mental health problems (including the effects from trauma) go untreated as methods of risk assessment and intervention at the frontline may not be that helpful to women and their whānau.
Frontline professionals and help groups do their best to assist their communities, yet most do not provide level of response needed due to differing contractual arrangements and limited resources. Thus, potentially placing help seeking women at heightened risk for emotional distress and subsequent risk of self harm.
In 2015-16 alongside Māori women refuges, a working framework was developed by Kia Maia Ltd on behalf of Te Rau Matatini. Its intention is to promote and support joined-up practices, services and methods across agencies to be more helpful to women. In addition, to providing women a tool for self help. The framework has been established, supported by a needs analyses of frontline workforces and the development of a training programme to support the framework. Workshops and training that was provided in October 2016 informed the development of a specific training programme to frontline workforces to centre the needs of wāhine with their tamariki and whānau in all approaches.
Upcoming dates for 2018 will be coming soon.
For further information please contact Maria Baker.