Last Friday, Shakti and partner organisations hosted an event to mark International Women's Day at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall. It was a lively event, with a shared brunch, speeches, panel discussions amongst researchers and politicians and the launch of “Break Free,” a handbook for migrant and refugee youth experiencing family violence.
The resource, which is the first of its kind, provides practical information on topics such as housing, jobs, study, relationships and immigration to help migrant and refugee youth navigate through the challenges in life after breaking free from family violence. The handbook covers culturally specific examples of unacceptable behaviours and practices so that youth can recognise the signs of an abusive relationship. It also includes personal anecdotes and supportive messages shared by migrant and refugee youth.
“There is a clear lack of support and culturally specific resources available for migrant and refugee youth who try to rebuild their lives after experiencing family violence in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. We hope this resource will provide practical knowledge as well as support,” said Mengzhu, who presented the handbook with a speech at the launch.
“Even though we specifically focus on the experiences of migrant and refugee youth, there is no doubt that family violence happens across cultures. However, there are specific experiences, issues and practices that need attention in immigrant communities, such as intergenerational cultural conflicts, forced marriage, and what has been called ‘honour-based’ violence. This handbook covers in more detail what this looks like,” continued Mengzhu.
The handbook is available for purchase through Shakti here, and it is free for young people who access Shakti’s services.