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PW 0378 Early help for men improves safety of women and children
  1. Michael McCarthy,
  2. Sripriya Somasekhar
  1. Accident Compensation Corporation, Wellington, New Zealand


A unique New Zealand service, Gandhi Nivas, is keeping women and children safe by providing early help to men at risk of harming their families.

Men get a temporary home to cool down and receive counselling, while women and children stay in their homes.

Critical to the free service’s success is that men get help from Gandhi Nivas within 24 hours of receiving a Police Safety Order (PSO). Police refer men to the service, which includes temporary accommodation, counselling and wrap around services.

Gandhi Nivas is a partnership involving NZ Police, a counselling service, a primary health organisation and a charitable trust.

Among funders is New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). ACC’s injury prevention work includes supporting non-government and government initiatives breaking the cycle of violence and sexual abuse.

ACC is unique to NZ in that it removes the right to sue for damages in exchange for comprehensive personal injury coverage to all New Zealanders and visitors to this country.

More than 400 men of 19 ethnicities were helped by Gandhi Nivas in 2017. The first house, with temporary accommodation and counselling services, opened in 2014 and a second house is planned in 2018.

Research by Massey University shows early positive results during its first year of operation:

93% of clients had not been involved in another family harm incident.

90% of men referred to Gandhi Nivas had help within 24 hours.

A 58% decrease in the frequency of family harm offences after receiving early intervention services from Gandhi.

Researchers praised Gandhi Nivas for its rapid response to police referrals and its culturally appropriate counselling services.

Gandhi Nivas also offers clients’ families counselling and support, help to clients with other needs like referral to social services, medical assistance and budgeting.

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