News

Bringing light into charities lives

A $25,000 donation to Gandhi Nivas from the Light for Life fundraiser evening will be gratefully used to help our work supporting families experiencing family harm.

The August 7 fundraising event brought together communities to raise funds and awareness for charities that enhance the wellbeing of people in Aotearoa.

Gandhi Nivas founder Ranjna Patel and staff from Sahaayta Counselling and Social Support were among people from charities supported by the event who attended the fundraiser.

Light for Life Charity Trust raised the funds through sponsorship, donations and an auction. It has been supporting charities through the event since 2016.

Ranjna Patel wins Trade Me Innovator of the Year award

Ranjna Patel has been named Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year - Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau at the New Zealander of The Year Awards 2021. Ranjna is the founder of Gandhi Nivas, cofounder and a director of Tāmaki Health and executive trustee of Total Healthcare PHO. 

Ranjna is the first woman to have won the Innovator of the Year award, which recognises inspiring Kiwis whose game-changing discoveries, research or inventions are creating a better New Zealand. 

She was also one of three finalists in the New Zealander of the Year category, alongside Muslim community leader Farid Ahmed and microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles.

In both categories Ranjna was recognised for her work with Gandhi Nivas, a groundbreaking intervention programme which works with perpetrators of family harm. A recent five-year study by Massey University has shown that the programme — which provides free shelter and counselling for men who have been issued a Police Safety Order — has been proven to reduce reoffending by 60%. 



Accepting the award for Innovator of the Year on Wednesday night, Ranjna said, “This is very very special… I’m blown away.”

She said she was surprised to win the category because the Gandhi Nivas programme was less about innovation, and more “just common sense.”  

“When I heard the police say the problem, and the counsellors say the solution, it was just a matter of putting it together. Why had no one thought of it – that men need help without getting a criminal record?


“If we as a society can be proactive than reactive to problems, I think we could go very far.”


Presenting the finalists for New Zealander of the Year award, host Scotty Morrison said, “New Zealand has the highest rate of reported family violence in the developed world, so the importance of the revolutionary mahi that Ranjna is doing truly cannot be underestimated.”

Ranjna says she hopes that the recognition from this award will help bring awareness to the Gandhi Nivas programme, which currently has three houses in Auckland with plans to expand nationwide.

“Because the concept of working with men is so foreign, just getting it out there is such a big thing. Everybody knows Women’s Refuge and it’s in every major city centre, but there’s currently no support for men outside of Auckland. It has to be national in order to get momentum.”

Patel says NZer of the Year Award will give her voice

This article originally appeared in Times Online, 15 March, 2021. 


How does it feel to be one of the three finalists in Kiwibank’s New Zealander of the Year Awards, Ranjna Patel’s granddaughter asked her nana? “Did you ever think you would be one of the top three?”

Apart from the congratulatory messages from every corner of the country, it is a question the visionary has been repeatedly asked.

On March 1, an announcement was made of Patel, co-founder and director of Tamaki Health and social entrepreneur, being a finalist in the prestigious Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2021 Awards.

The other two finalists are Farid Ahmed, a Muslim community leader who became the face of forgiveness after the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch and Dr Siouxsie Wiles, microbiologist and science communicator.

Patel is also a finalist in the Trade Me Innovator of the Year category.

Talking about the award that celebrates and honours extraordinary Kiwis who inspire, give hope and lead, the Sunnyhills resident says she feels very privileged and fortunate.

“This has given me a voice at so many levels where I can talk about diversity and inclusion.

It has opened many doors to be heard, given me a platform. I am aware there is a use-by date that goes by quickly and I intend to make the most of it,” says Patel, who has won several awards.

These include winning Westpac Women of Influence – Community Hero in 2020; IBA Best Businesswoman of the Year, EY Entrepreneur of the Year – Master Category and the Deloitte’s Top 200 Awards – Visionary Leader.

Yet Patel admits that it feels a bit hollow being bestowed such an honour considering so many people have contributed to her journey.

The third generation Kiwi-Indian is quick to acknowledge those who have been instrumental in establishing Gandhi Nivas, an innovative early intervention and prevention, residential facility for perpetrators of domestic violence.

“I am going to acknowledge them at the awards night on March 31 starting with Sucharita and the Sahaayta team of counsellors; the young constable Gurpreet Arora who pushed for the idea of Gandhi Nivas. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of deputy commissioner John Tims, a true enabler; as well as National Engagement manager NZ Police, Rakesh Naidoo for moving government rank in Wellington. All I did was look outside the square and do my bit,” she says.

The result of a five-year study on the efficacy of Gandhi Nivas (a partnership with ACC, NZ Police, counselling and social services) by Massey University, found that by working with perpetrators of family violence, Gandhi Nivas had prevented almost 60 per cent of the men from reoffending.

Patel is equally grateful to the “amazing team of doctors, nurses and staff at Tamaki Health,” New Zealand’s largest independent healthcare group.

“We started our first clinic in Otara by borrowing 110 per cent. I was the receptionist, accountant and cleaner while my husband Kanti treated patients. Today I’m proud to say that if I ask our team with a positive, can-do attitude, “can you jump for me, they will ask how high?” says Patel.

International Women's Day 2021: Ranjna Patel

Ranjna won the Westpac Women of Influence New Zealand Community Hero Award 2020 for restoring hope and empowering change through her work.

On International Women's Day 2021, Westpac went along to Gandhi Nivas to catch up with Ranjna.

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Ranjna Patel named as New Zealander of the Year finalist

Gandhi Nivas founder and director, Ranjna Patel, has been named as a finalist in the 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards ­­– Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa. 

Now in it’s 12th year, the awards celebrate Kiwis from all walks of life who use their passion to make Aotearoa a better place.

When Ranjna Patel was asked to offer guidance around family violence in in the South Asian community in 2013, she identified a crucial missing step in family violence intervention – engaging offenders in their own rehabilitation. In 2014, she established the first Gandhi Nivas home for perpetrators in Otahuhu, providing innovative early intervention and prevention services for Kiwi men. A study undertaken by Massey University looked at men five years before entering Gandhi Nivas and after, and found 60% of men did not re-offend.

Ranjna is one of three finalists for New Zealander of the Year 2021, alongside microbiologist Siouxie Wiles and Christchurch shooting survivor and community leader Farid Ahmed.

Ranjna is also a finalist in the Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year/Te Pou Whakairo O Te Tau category.

Miriama Kamo, Te Koruru – Patron of the Awards, says: “In these challenging times, we believe compassion, commitment and creative solutions are key to keeping our communities connected. Across the world, intolerance and misinformation seek to divide us - but our three finalists look to inform, to uplift, and to unite. We are proud to present them as the finalists for the next Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year – Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa.”

Winners will be announced at the New Zealander of the Year Awards Gala Dinner in Auckland on Wednesday 31 March 2021.

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Gandhi Nivas founder wins Community Hero award

Ranjna Patel has been has been awarded ‘Community Hero’ at the 2020 Women of Influence Awards for her work with Gandhi Nivas. 

The Women of Influence awards celebrate New Zealand women who are helping the next generation positively shape their future.

Ranjna impressed the judges by bringing multiple parties together, including police and social support services, to reduce rates of family violence.

"Our work with Gandhi Nivas was acknowledged and the partnership with NZ Police and the fabulous Team Sahaayta lead by Sucharita has made this a success," says Ranjna.

"The evening had some amazing women being recognised. I was proud to be the first Indian to win a WOI award." 

Thanks to a five-year case study by Massey University, the Gandhi Nivas programme, which provides emergency housing and counselling to the perpetrators of family violence, has been proven to reduce reoffending by 60 per cent. 

Ranjna adds this latest award to countless other business and personal and professional achievements. She was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 and received a Queen’s Service Medal in 2009.

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Gandhi Nivas Report Launch July 2020



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Gandhi Nivas programme reduces reoffending by almost 60 per cent

A major five-year study by Massey University proves that Gandhi Nivas’ interventionist model works.

The results of the study, which were presented at Parliament on 30 June 2020, found that by working directly with perpetrators of family violence, Gandhi Nivas was able to prevent almost 60% of the men who have taken part in the programme from reoffending.

Massey University’s Professor Mandy Morgan co-lead the research.

She says: “The team’s evaluation provides insights and data on the success of the Gandhi Nivas programme, and offers hope that properly resourced early intervention can contribute to addressing our very real problem of violence in our homes."

Emergency housing and counseling provided

The Gandhi Nivas programme, which is partially funded by ACC, provides emergency housing and counselling to men who have been issued with a Police Safety Order (PSO) following an act of family harm. Participating agencies describe the initiative as innovative and ground-breaking.

Once a man is issued with a PSO, he must leave the family home for a set period of time. It’s at this point that some men are taken by Police to one of three Gandhi Nivas homes in Ōtāhuhu, Te Atatū and Papakura. This immediately decreases the likelihood of further family harm, increases safety for the family, and provides the offender with an opportunity to begin the process of behavioural change.

Addressing the complexity of family harm

Police Deputy Commissioner, Wallace Haumaha says “This research demonstrates that by providing immediate support alongside early intervention for the perpetrator, victim and whānau, we can address the complexity of family harm,” he said.

Ranjna Patel, the founder of Gandhi Nivas, says the Massey report’s findings provide a compelling proof of concept for the interventionist model.

“If you want to see transformational change in this country you have to work with the men who are inflicting violent behaviour in the family home. It’s important to support the victims of domestic violence, but that won’t change a man’s behaviour. To end violent behavior, you’ve got to find and address its source.”

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30 June parliament research ;launch

Gandhi Nivas on The Project NZ



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Banquet Hall – Parliament. The launch of the Massey University report 2020



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Visit to Government House

Gandhi Nivas was excited to be invited by Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy to visit her at Government House in Auckland to talk about its work to prevent family harm.

Founder Ranjna Patel was joined at the visit on the 8th of August by those who helped establish and support the project, including representatives from Total Healthcare PHO, police, Sahaayta Counselling Services and Massey University.

Ranjna says it is wonderful that Dame Patsy showed such a strong interest in the work of Gandhi Nivas and its unique way of helping prevent harm by providing early 24/7 help to support families.

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Gand Nivas governor general visit 2

Gandhi Nivas celebrates fourth anniversary

December 2018 marks the four-year anniversary of Gandhi Nivas and its work to prevent family violence.

Founder Ranjna Patel paid tribute at anniversary celebrations to everyone who had put in “the hard yards” that led to the success of Gandhi Nivas, especially the “true heroes” – police and Sahaayta Counselling.

Gandhi Nivas has helped more than 1100 families through its first home in Otahuhu. Two new houses opened in Auckland this year – the Te Atatu house has helped 190 families and the Papakura house 65 families.

Overcoming the behaviour patterns that lead to family harm are difficult and the work police in Auckland put into making sure its officers are aware they can refer people to the services Gandhi Nivas offers is vital, Mrs Patel said. She noted when men are referred to Gandhi Nivas for counselling and emergency housing, staff also offer support to the women who have the courage to call police.

Professor Mandy Morgan from Massey University’s School of Psychology spoke about the research projects under way on Gandhi Nivas. Changing behaviour is a long and ongoing process and Gandhi Nivas provides support when men are ready and want help, Professor Morgan said.

Women who have been interviewed for research projects speak about how vital it is they can get support from Gandhi Nivas 24/7, seven days a week, and that helps give them strength to endure their family’s crisis, she said.

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Gandhi Otahuhu 2 1

Gandhi Nivas opens its Papakura house

The third Gandhi Nivas house has been officially opened in Papakura by Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Associate Minister of Health.

At the 7 September opening, the minister spoke of her strong support for the work of Gandhi Nivas in helping to prevent family violence. Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers said the ability of police in Auckland to refer people to Gandhi Nivas made colleagues across the country jealous.

The Papakura house has been dedicated to the late Vivek Varma, husband of Sahaayta Counselling & Social Support manager Sucharita Varma, in honour of his contribution to Gandhi Nivas.

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Papakura Gandhi Nivas opening 1

Honours for Gandhi Nivas founder

Gandhi Nivas founder Ranjna Patel has received numerous honours in recognition of her work to provide counselling and emergency housing for men to reduce family violence.

In 2017, she became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) and won the business and innovation section of the 2017 NEXT Woman of the Year Awards. Ranjna was among six women honoured in the Woman of the Year Awards for their contributions in New Zealand and abroad, making history and transforming the lives of people in need.

In December 2016, Ranjna won the Deloitte Top 200 Visionary Leader award. At Gandhi Nivas's one-year celebrations, Ranjna was awarded a New Zealand Police honour – the Challenge Coin. Ranjna received the coin, usually reserved for police staff, for her commitment to reducing family violence through Gandhi Nivas.

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Police medal H

Gandhi Nivas expands its service in Auckland

The second Gandhi Nivas house in Auckland has officially opened and will help keep more families safe by providing early help to men involved in family violence.

ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway opened the Te Atatu service on 16 August. ACC provides funding to Gandhi Nivas as part of its violence prevention strategy to reduce harm caused by violence at home.

Early results from the first Gandhi Nivas house show a substantial reduction in the number of men offending after intervention. The funding helps address the gap in available services for perpetrators and wrap-around services for families. Gandhi Nivas also receives funding from MSD, Total Healthcare PHO and through donations.

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Te Atatu opening 2

New partnership with NZ Police

Gandhi Nivas and Sahaayta Counselling & Social Support have signed a new agreement with NZ Police to reflect their expansion in Auckland.

The first Gandhi Nivas house opened in Otahuhu in 2014. The second house opened in Te Atatu in March 2018 and a third house is due to offically open in Papakura in September 2018.

Superintendent John Tims, Assistant Commissioner Districts, pictured with Gandhi Nivas founder Ranjna Patel and Sahaayta manager Sucharita Varma, signed the agreement on behalf of NZ Police.

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Agreement signing with NZ Police

In the media

Gandhi Nivas success enhances hope of reducing family harm

Indian Newslink, 20 July 2020

A well-organised intervention programme, run efficiently and equally important, adequately funded can reduce the occurrence of family violence, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa has said.

Read more

Need to replicate Gandhi Nivas across New Zealand

Times Online, 14 July 2020

After a five year independent Massey University report of Gandhi Nivas, Pakuranga’s Ranjna Patel, the driving force behind an innovative early intervention programme for family harm, hopes that government agencies including Health, Social Development, Justice, Corrections, Police, Education, Housing and Whānau Ora can work together to replicate it across New Zealand.

Read more

Gandhi Nivas - the violence programme that reduces family harm

RNZ Afternoons, 9 July 2020

A study of a pilot programme that sees men instead of their victims leave the family home and seek help has been conducted by researchers at Massey University. NZ Herald reporter Kirsty Johnston reviews the results. Her story is here.

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Massey study finds Gandhi Nivas interventionist model reduces reoffending by almost 60 percent

The Indian News, July 2 2020

A major five-year study by Massey University, which was presented at the Parliament this week, has revealed that Gandhi Nivas’ interventionist model, where it works directly with perpetrators of family violence, was able to prevent almost 60 percent of the men who have taken part in the programme from reoffending.

Read more

Homes of peace live up to name

NZ Police Ten One Magazine, 2 July 2020

A five-year Massey University evaluation of Gandhi Nivas has found that nearly 60 percent of offenders did not reoffend after the intervention.

The community effort and teamwork that went into this achievement were celebrated at a reception launching the report at Parliament this week.

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Better to remove domestic violence perpetrators than victims – research

RNZ, 1 July 2020

Research into a domestic violence programme shows that by removing the perpetrator rather than victims from the home and offering them housing and counselling, almost 60 percent didn't reoffend. Massey University conducted a five-year study of the Gandhi Nivas programme for men committing family violence who are referred to the service with a Police Safety Order.

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Domestic violence: Auckland intervention programme prevents nearly 60 percent from reoffending - study

Newshub, July 1 2020

An Auckland-based domestic violence programme that removes men from the family home is showing promising signs, with reoffending prevented in nearly 60 percent of cases, new figures show.

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Programme removing violent men from the home proves successful

RNZ Nine to Noon, 1 July 2020

A family violence programme that removes men from the home, rather than their victims, has been shown to reduce offending by nearly 60 per cent over five years. Joining Lynn to talk about Gandhi Nivas and the research into it is Dr David Codyre, Professor Mandy Morgan of Massey University and Inspector David Glossop.

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South Auckland initiative reduces rate of family violence reoffending by almost 60%

RNZ, 1 July 2020

Figures from Massey University show over the past five years, 57.5 per cent of men who used the Gandhi Nivas interventionist programme did not re-offend or commit further acts of family harm. It focuses on working with male perpetrators, removing them from the family home instead of their victims. Its founder, Ranjna Patel, believes it’s important not to uproot those on the receiving end of the violence.

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Ground-breaking programme is preventing family violence

The Tindall Foundation, 1 July 2020

Gandhi Nivas is an organisation helping to prevent family harm in New Zealand. The words themselves symbolise a ‘home of peace’, and this is what the organisation offers to men who have been involved in family violence and need a safe place to stay.

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Male violence: How the groundbreaking Gandhi Nivas programme is reducing family harm

NZ Herald, 30 June 2020

A violence programme that sees men - instead of their victims - leave the family home and seek help has been found to prevent further offences in two of three cases. Kirsty Johnston reports.

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Massey research shows community programme helping reduce family violence

Massey University, 1 July 2020

Statistical evidence from a multi-study, long long-term research programme by Massey University social scientists has confirmed the substantial drop in re-offending after early intervention and ongoing whānau support by the Gandhi Nivas family harm intervention.

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Archived

NZ Police rewards community initiative

Indian Weekender, 18 November 2016

New Zealand Police recognises leadership efforts by Gandhi Nivas in filling a critical gap in the family violence cycle experienced by a large number of Aucklanders.

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Gandhi Nivas fosters peace as offenders embrace families

Indian Newslink, 14 November 2016

Ranjna Patel reflects on how and why Gandhi Nivas was established.

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We need a lot more Aunty Ranjnas in New Zealand

Radio New Zealand, 10 October, 2016

'Aunty Ranjna' Patel is a champion for high-needs communities in South Auckland and the first ethnic woman to become a finalist for New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year.

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Stop domestic violence – help the men

Radio New Zealand, 18 April 2016

One year since it opened, an early intervention family violence facility set up by the Indian community in South Auckland, is being used as an example for other communities around the country.

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Otahuhu's Gandhi Nivas helping to lower family violence rates

Manukau Courier, 13 April 2016

A 'house of peace' is celebrating its first anniversary - and confirmation that it's helping to cut family violence. Gandhi Nivas, a residence for men issued with police safety orders, has accommodated 103 men since it opened.

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New domestic violence approach in New Zealand focuses on men

ABC News, 7 April 2016

A new approach to domestic violence, which sees men removed from the family home rather than women, has had good results in New Zealand.

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Healthcare and philanthropy in Auckland

RNZ, 28 January 2016

Ranjna Patel and her husband are at the helm of an Auckland healthcare empire and they've used some of their success for philanthropic projects, including tackling domestic violence.

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Indian men ditch domestic violence after time out at Auckland home

TVNZ, 31 March 2016

A new initiative by Auckland's Indian community is claiming a 90 per cent success rate for preventing domestic violence.

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Gandhi Nivas: Keeping families safe

RNZ, 18 December 2017

'Don't take the women and children out of the home – put the man in a safe place instead', is the philosophy of Gandhi Nivas – a family violence facility in Otahuhu. The first centre has been so successful a second will open.

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Police back scheme offering time out for family violence offenders

RNZ, 2 December 2018

A senior police officer has praised a 24-hour service helping the perpetrators of family violence, saying it has reduced the workload for officers.

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Gandhi Nivas opens its third branch in Auckland

Indian Newslink, 8 September 2018

Organisations like Gandhi Nivas are important contributors in reducing family violence and family harm and make our homes safer, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa says.

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ACC grants $1.7m for venture gaining success in curbing family violence

New Zealand Doctor, 17 August 2018

In a who’s who of the great and the good, Ranjna Patel’s second shelter for perpetrators of family violence was officially opened yesterday in west Auckland.

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$1.7m funding boost for domestic violence organisation

Newstalk ZB, 17 August 2018

An organisation which provides support to domestic violence victims and the perpetrators has been given a $1.7 million funding boost.

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Auckland Centre helping reduce family violence by working with perpetrators expands service

NZ Herald, 15 August 2018

New Zealand's first service offering 24-hour counselling and accommodation to men removed from their homes for committing family violence is expanding.

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Service that helps abusive men calm down gets $1.7m

Stuff, 16 August 2018

Houses that give abusive men barred from the family house somewhere to go are getting $1.7 million from the Government.

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Gandhi Nivas gets funding support from ACC

Indian Weekender, 16 August 2018

Gandhi Nivas – the early intervention service that provides emergency accommodation and counselling for perpetrators of family violence – has received funding from ACC to support their actions in the community for the next three years.

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New home to prevent family violence

Stuff, 6 April 2018

Counties Manukau South Police officers are putting in the hard yards to give back to the community and help Gandhi Nivas to open a house in Papakura.

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