Etu Pasifika, the largest health provider for Pacific families living in Canterbury, are extending their weekday hours to offer social services support to cater for the influx of calls dealing with issues such as domestic violence and home evictions.
Antonio Filimoehala, the Social Services Manager based at Etu Pasifika, says the change to their social services, which are now available on the weekdays from 830am – 10pm, was a response to the demand for assistance.
“One of the barriers for our families to our services was access. What we are trying to do is cater to our families and communities by having this late night service to support our most vulnerable and give us the opportunity to reach out to them and offer them as much support as we can.”
Mr Filimoehala says the clinic has been receiving lots of calls dealing with domestic violence. In fact, the team at Etu Pasifika has built such a strong rapport with the community, that many Pacific families call their navigators first and not the police when they are in trouble.
“One time, there was an incident when a man was so drunk that he broke down the door and was causing violence in the household with his partner. She called our navigator first as opposed to the police.
The reason why this mother did this is because she had this trust and close relationship with our Navigator. We went down and got the police involved. We placed the family in a refuge. When everyone was in a safe space, we followed through by working with the whole family.
We believe in long term relationships and family based solutions; that our families feel safe, that they are heard and that they can trust us.”
Mr Filimoehala says that many vulnerable Pacific families feel more comfortable dealing with a Pacific organisation.
“They feel more at ease because they know they are being helped by someone with the same background who can relate to their cultural values.”
Date: Monday 15 March 2021