In 2019, the Shama Sexual Violence Response team started delivering Cultural Safety training for mainstream crisis organisations across Aotearoa New Zealand. Whenever we do training, we also learn from the organisations we work with. We have learnt about their practices with ethnic clients and their hopes for how to work effectively. We have been presenting our learning from these training courses in a seminar called Brave Conversations.
Understanding what mainstream organisations are currently doing is a really important step towards positive change. It can be hard to hear that the support you are providing might not always match what people need, which is why it is brave to talk about it.
We collected survey data which has told us things like how often do workers in mainstream organisations raise conversations about culture and faith? How do mainstream organisations capture statistics about ethnic diversity? Do they ask for cultural support/supervision? What policies do they have in place to support ethnic diversity? What do they think ethnic communities need from them?
One of the biggest themes is that mainstream organisations really want to work well with their clients – the work they are doing is difficult and they really care about getting it right. ‘I want them to know that they can trust me’ was something that people often repeated. When we have found gaps, it has been heartening to let organisations know about these and have them respond positively. Some organisations have changed intake forms and already adapted their collection of ethnicity data so it is more accurate.
If you’re interested in hosting either a cultural safety training or a presentation of Brave Conversations, please let us know. The more people involved in this conversation, the better!