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“Wakeup call:” newest councillor aims to tackle sexual violence in Wellington

News from WCC
Newly-sworn in Southern Ward Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons will start her term mandated to tackle sexual violence in Wellington, with Mayor Justin Lester announcing Cr Fitzsimons as portfolio lead for City Safety.

Ms Fitzsimons, who was elected late last year and sworn in today, will focus heavily on eliminating sexual harassment in the city.

The Mayor says the move demonstrates that the city is serious about ending sexual harassment and violence in the city and points to the #metoo movement as being a powerful wakeup call for all communities to take the issue seriously.

“I have confidence that Cr Fitzsimons will be able to work with the community, businesses and agencies to get real results,” the Mayor said.

“We want to make Wellington a city where everyone can go out, have a good time and be safe. We have a vibrant night life and we want this to thrive but creating a safe environment needs to be part of this.”

Cr Fitzsimons says the “endemic nature of sexual harassment is no secret to me, and the #metoo movement has empowered people everywhere to share their stories and demand better, in bars, in workplaces, on sportsfields, #metoo is changing our world and Wellington City Council has a role to play too.”

“I am looking forward to working with sexual violence prevention agencies, the Police, the hospitality industry and all sporting codes to ensure that we are all doing our part in changing the culture so that sexual violence does not occur in Wellington.

“It is not enough to deal with sexual violence on a case-by-case basis or to report on it when it occurs, we must focus on ensuring that it does not happen in the first place,” said Cr Fitzsimons.

Press Release – Sexual Abuse Prevention Network
Sexual Abuse Prevention Network supports Wellington City Council’s move to give new councillor focus on sexual violence, A spokesperson for Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says it is excellent that the Council has given a focus to sexual violence within the safer cities portfolio.

General Manager, Fiona McNamara says “Wellington City Council has a long history of supporting organisations in the sexual violence sector, but giving responsibility for this to a councillor ensures that it remains a priority and that we have strong advocate for this issue representing our city.”

“Councillor Fitzsimons has spoken passionately about this issue in her maiden speech, giving us confidence that she will have a positive influence towards changing the culture that allows sexual violence to happen.”

“We look forward to working with Fitzsimons, the Mayor and the council more broadly to develop and implement new strategies to eliminate sexual violence in our city.”

“Sexual violence in preventable and we need to shift the focus to addressing the culture in which it exists.”

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network offers a range of education, professional development and consultancy services to businesses, schools, community groups and other organisations. SAPN works with agencies to develop policies, procedures and safety strategies unique to their organisation. Programmes include the ‘It’s Our Business programme’ a programme tailored to the hospitality sector that assists staff in developing safety strategies in their bars, trains staff to identify dangerous situations and to intervene before sexual violence occurs, and to respond safely when an incident does happen.

“Every time we run this programme, bar staff all report that they have witnessed sexual harassment in their bars already. They all have a story to tell and want to know what they can do stop this kind of behaviour from happening. There is a need and desire in a broad range of workplaces for this kind of conversation to happen.”

Wellington.Scoop – 5 February
Newly elected councillor Fleur Fitzsimons is to be responsible for the city’s social development, with a focus on city safety.

The NZ Herald reports that her new portfolio aims to stamp out sexual harassment and assault in the capital.

“My point to sports and hospitality institutions is it’s not enough to fix [sexual harassment] on a case-by-case basis, we have to create the environment where this doesn’t happen in the first place,” Cr Fitzsimons told the Herald.

There needed to be a city-wide approach to stamping out sexual abuse.

“I’m going to be working with the hospitality industry and sporting organisations in Wellington to make sure that they are well-equipped to play their role.”

Fitzsimons said she campaigned strongly on the issue during the Southern Ward by-election and received a lot of feedback in favour of the move. It was only natural for the council and Mayor to support it with the creation of the portfolio, she said.

Mayor Justin Lester said the city safety portfolio was created specifically for Cr Fitzsimons. “Fleur has decided this is an area of interest where she has particular concerns and she wants to have a real focus for Wellington.”

Cr Fitzsimons is to be sworn in at Wednesday’s council meeting. She will also be appointed portfolio lead for the following committees: Recreation, Living Wage, and
Community Facilities.

1 comment:

  1. Brian Dawson, 5. February 2018, 17:23

    It’s great to be able to hand over the city safety part of the social development portfolio to Fleur. [via twitter]