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Support groups urged after attack

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2014
Attack victim Praveet Chahal
MICHAEL BRADLEY/Fairfax NZ
PAINFUL REMINDER: Praveet Chahal suffered a broken nose and a fractured eye socket in the frenzied attack.
Neighbourhood Groups
STE UP: Joseph Liava’a and Ranjna Patel are urging members of the community to set up Neighbourhood Support groups.

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Community leaders are calling for more people to set up Neighbourhood Support groups in the wake of a street assault.

The call has come out of a forum promoting safer families which was hosted by the Manukau Indian Association.

Papatoetoe woman Praveet Chahal was a speaker at the event.

The 40-year-old suffered a fractured eye socket and broken nose in a random attack during her evening walk.

After the incident she told police that she was screaming for help but no-one stepped in.

Association executive Ranjna Patel says Ms Chahal appeared at the forum to give her neighbours a positive message.

She urged them to form Neighbourhood Support groups to help prevent similar incidents.

"She knew the community that didn't stop to help her must be feeling pretty bad," Mrs Patel says.

Healthcare worker Joseph Liava'a, who helped to co-ordinate the forum, says Ms Chahal's talk helped turn people's "great intentions" into practical action.

"You can see things on TV but until it's brought home to the community you live in and you can talk to people about it, that's when the seed is really planted."

Mrs Patel says sharing information through groups like Neighbourhood Support was an option that many people hadn't considered.

"They had never thought of telling anyone things like, ‘I work during the day but I'm sometimes home after 5 by myself'. That sort of information can be really helpful in keeping people safe."

Manukau East Labour MP Ross Robertson says many Papatoetoe people aren't aware there are organisations that can help them in violent situations.

Ms Chahal's injuries were a wake-up call for the community, he says.

"We need to ensure that we get our Neighbourhood Support groups up and take care of each other as a community."

Phone Neighbourhood Support's national headquarters on 0800 463 444 or get in touch with your community constable by calling 261 1300 to find out more about setting up a group.

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- Manukau Courier

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