New Zealand Police recognises leadership efforts demonstrated by staff and community members in filling a critical gap in the family violence cycle as experienced by a large number of Aucklanders. 

 Inspector Nga-Wati  Chaplow  and Sergeant Gurpreet Arora from Counties Manukau Police along with prominent community leaders Dr Ranjana Patel from Gandhi Nivas and Sucharita Varma from Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support, received District Commander Superintendent’s appreciation award for prevention of domestic violence.

The award was presented by Commander John Tim in a ceremony graced by the Police Minister Judith Collins at a departmental function organised at the Eden Park stadium in Auckland.  

In a community initiative led by Counties Manukau Police and supported by  Gandhi Nivas and Sahaayta, the trio worked together in the last three years to bring down the number of family violence cases in Auckland.

The programme started nearly three years ago when family violence was a big concern in the South Asian community. The police realised that most of the victims were reluctant to come forward and speak because the men would be arrested for a few days or be given a restraining order, and once they returned home, the harassment continued.

The solution to the rising number of ineffective arrests was to understand the underlying problem, which was alcohol, gambling, drugs, etc. The men would be away from their family, stay in police custody or in hotels, and sleep in their cars or streets during restraining orders from the law.

The District Commander took the challenge to find a better solution by looking for accommodation, support, and counselling for such men. Dr Patel came forward, a process was initiated, and Sahaayta contributed by providing counselling.

On December 1, 2014, a house was set up in Otahuhu, initially open to Indians only. It later accepted pan-Asian, Pacific Islanders, and Maori men who sought rehabilitation.

More than 300 men have been referred to the house and the initiative has been successful across different ethnicities in New Zealand. Family violence prevention initiatives, early intervention, housing and counselling are some of the services offered by Gandhi Nivas in collaboration with Sahaayta and Counties Manukau Police.

The high-profile award function was held at Mt Eden Park on Friday, November 11.