A Māori sexual violence prevention service is calling for the government to better resource kaupapa Māori services if it wants to see significant change in the sector.
The New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey talked to more than 8000 people over the past year, to form what the Ministry of Justice said was the most comprehensive picture of crime in this country.
The report said 24 percent of adults – or more than 900,000 people – experienced one or more sexual assaults in their lifetime but just 6 percent of those would actually report the sexual assault to police.
Victims’ advocates said the survey would help lead to radical change in the justice sector.
Korowai Tumanako co-director Russell Smith said the under-reporting of sexual violence was an historic and well-known issue.
“I think government needs to spend money differently. I think some of the money that goes into some of the sector work doesn’t come to Māori services.”
He said while kaupapa Māori services worked closely with police, the Accident Compensation Corporation and other bodies, those agencies’ hands were bound by restrictions within government.
It was difficult to get resources released, he said.
“A lot of our resources are not only funding resources but also people resource. A lot of our practitioners are being hired by the likes of Oranga Tamariki, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Development – all of those agencies.
“They’re able to offer really good money, we can’t do that.”
This was affecting the quality and development of services, he said.
“We’re virtually going from hand to mouth with all three services and that’s not a good way to work.
“We need more effort and impetus on resourcing the people who are going to support fixing this problem.”
When Smith was asked why Māori were especially reluctant to report violence to police, he pointed to an example from Monday.
A Northland school reported just 27 percent attendance on Monday after rumours circulated that Oranga Tamariki would take students from their classrooms under Covid-19 alert level 2 emergency powers.
“When you come from that premise that there’s assumed risk with Māori, why would they want to report?”