Gandhi Nivas – the early intervention service that provides emergency accommodation and counselling for perpetrators of family violence – has received funding from ACC to support their actions in the community for the next three years.

This was announced today by the Minister for ACC Iain Lees-Galloway at the official opening ceremony of the second house in Te Atatu.

“ACC will invest a further $1.7m over the next three years to support the expansion of Gandhi Nivas, an early intervention service that provides,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.

Gandhi Nivas was originally set up to address the problem of family harm in the Indian community but it now helps people of all ethnicities.

ANZ Bank's Indian Networking Group team, along with Inspector Anthony Wakelin, of Counties Manukau, and Ranjna Patel of Serenity Foundation.

A community initiative led and supported by the Serenity Foundation, New Zealand Police, Total Healthcare PHO and Sahaayta Counselling & Social Support, Gandhi Niwas has been phenomenally successful in timely intervention in cases of domestic violence.

In 2018, Gandhi Nivas received 190 referrals in the first half of the year as opposed to a total of 414 clients in 2017 – an annual increase of 75.4 per cent.

The first house of Gandhi Nivas was opened in 2014 in Otahuhu and a second house in Te Atatu became operational in March earlier this year, which was officially declared open on Thursday, August 16, by the Minister Lees-Galloway.

A third house is due to be officially opened in Papakura in September 2018.

“ACC invested $1.32 million in the Gandhi Nivas service in December 2016 to enable a full wrap-around service around the perpetrator, victim and family.

“Gandhi Nivas’ early intervention approach to family violence aligns to ACC’s violence prevention strategy to reduce the harm caused by violence at home.

 “Gandhi Nivas provides counselling to help people examine the consequences of their actions. It challenges people to accept responsibility, and helps them to change their behaviour,” Mr Lees-Galloway said.

“The service deserves further investment, so I’m pleased ACC is providing further investment to enable expansion of services. This reflects on and rewards the success of the programme so far.

“The funding will support the launch of a second service in Waitemata to provide wrap-around services to help people who commit family violence.

"This early intervention approach places the victim first. Most importantly, it allows the victim to remain in the family home,” Mr Lees-Galloway further added.

One year after the opening of Gandhi Nivas in Otahuhu, a study by Massey University’s School of Psychology has found a 43.75 per cent drop in the number of men offending after the intervention, and a 57.6 per cent decrease in the frequency of re-offending, after the intervention.

Ranjna Patel delighted with the support

Ranjna Patel, one of the founding members of Gandhi Nivas expressed satisfaction with the way the community was coming together to take ownership of this initiative and making a meaningful intervention in the lives of the families affected by domestic violence.

Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Ms Patel said, “It’s such a brave step taken by ACC in supporting this community-led initiative as it let us do what we strive to do – help families caught-up in family violence.”

“We are able to achieve what we achieve through the continuous guidance of New Zealand Police and people like Strategic Adviser Race Relations officer Rakesh Naidoo,” Ms Patel said.