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Intimate partner violence, sexual violence and family violence

Family Planning believes that all people have the right to live free from violence.

There are different forms of violence including violence against a family member, intimate partner violence and sexual violence. Violence may be physical, psychological, sexual or emotional. While people may experience different kinds of violence, all violence is about unequal power relationships between individuals or groups of people.

Some groups of people are likely to experience violence more frequently than others. For example, women are far more likely to experience violence in their lifetime because of gender inequalities, discrimination, and attitudes and beliefs that make violence against women acceptable. Māori whānau experience high rates of violence.

The causes are complex. Colonisation - including the loss of power, land and traditional whānau cultural structures and support – is considered to be a factor contributing to the high rates. LGBTIQ, young people, the elderly, migrant communities and disabled people are also more likely to experience violence.

While it is important to focus on violence experienced and perpetrated by individuals, addressing the root causes of violence at a social level is the responsibility of all of us. Violence prevention is the shared responsibility of communities, government and society. Family Planning is committed to addressing the power imbalances in our society that contribute to high rates of violence.

Sexuality education plays an important role in violence prevention. Sexuality education helps young people to expand knowledge, explore attitudes and values, and develop skills to act in positive and respectful ways with others.

It is important that comprehensive sexuality education is consistently delivered by all schools in New Zealand and reinforced through an inclusive, supportive school culture with zero tolerance for violence. Sexuality education must be culturally appropriate for Māori, empower rangatahi Māori and increase Māori whānau and community control of
health and rights.

As a trusted health care organisation, we play an important role supporting people who have experienced violence. There are strong links between violence against women and poor sexual and reproductive health. For example, women who experience violence from an intimate partner are much more likely to have a sexually transmitted infection or unintended pregnancy.

Family Planning’s formal policies ensure doctors and nurses routinely ask clients about violence so they can offer support and referrals to appropriate services. 

Family Planning supports a violence free society where power and rights are
equitable and all people’s human rights are respected and upheld.

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Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.