Western Bay of Plenty organisation SociaLink Tauranga Moana is raising awareness around poverty, family violence and child abuse in our region.
On Friday, August 16, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams is launching five SociaLink research reports, a video about the impact and prevalence of local family harm, and an art installation graphically depicting family violence.
The launch is taking place at the Tauranga Historic Village at 9am, and it is called ‘Opening the Blinds on the Real Life of Us’, opening the blinds of our homes and our eyes to the social issues experienced in the western Bay.
A SociaLink spokesperson says Tauranga is well known for its good beaches and good climate that attracts retirees and cashed up Aucklander’s, however, some key issues within the region are masked.
“What Tauranga is less well known is the poverty, family violence and child abuse that is far more common than most locals would realise.”
SociaLink is an umbrella organisation that supports and empowers the social and community sector who often work with the most vulnerable in the Western Bay of Plenty community.
Some of the alarming statistics SociaLink have found include:
• The Tauranga Oranga Tamariki office had the highest number of child abuse and family violence notification of any office in New Zealand in 2017
• There has been a 26 per cent increase in child abuse and family violence notifications from 2013 to 2017
• There are 13 reports of family harm everyday in the western Bay of Plenty, taking into account under reporting this would be 52 reports every day if all family harm events were reported
• 17 per cent of western Bay of Plenty residents are highly stressed by their personal finances, for Maori that rises to 25-30 per cent
• 13.500 food parcels were distributed in Tauranga in 2018, 25 per cent to low income earners.
While the community has a strong resourceful social sector delivering essential services to those most vulnerable, they are stretched and under stress, says a SociaLink spokesperson.
“Many organisations have waiting lists where people, particularly children and families, can be waiting up to two years for services such as speech therapy and mental health services.
“SociaLink wishes to increase community awareness and empathy for those in our community who are struggling and encourage you to donate your time, money or voice to support the organisations that deliver much needed services.”