Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) tutor Dr Donna Swift has received a national peace award for her work in the area of girls' violence.
The Sonja Davies Peace Award promotes initiatives that advance peace in New Zealand and was presented by the New Horizons for Women Trust. The award is available to a woman or group led by a woman who are developing an initiative that will help them create a more peaceful world at home, school, the workplace, or in the community and includes a financial component.
Dr Swift's successful application will see her take the research she has done at an academic level into girls' violence and other issues facing girls and young women, and use it to create user-friendly resources for those working at the coalface with girls - such as parents and teachers.
"The girls of today are the mothers of the next generation. Working with girls is a way of breaking the cycle of family violence", she says.
Dr Swift has a passion for research, academic writing and social justice. She has recently released a report entitled Girls of Concern about young women living in isolated communities on the West Coast. She has also written a chapter for the just-released book A Restorative Approach to Family Violence and a journal article for No to Violence: Ending Men's Violence on the ideology of patriarchy behind adolescent girls' violence.
From 2009 to 2011, Dr Swift was the Principal Researcher of The Girls' Project: An investigation of the use of violence and anti-social behaviour by girls and young women, conducted in the Tasman Police District. In 2011 she was awarded the National Project for Soroptimist International New Zealand.
Recognised as a specialist in her field, Dr Swift presents throughout New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. She is a NMIT Learning Champion and in 2013 received the NMIT Research Award. She is also engaged in consultancy and training with education and social agency professionals.
Dr Swift teaches on the social work degree programme at NMIT and says that receiving the Sonja Davies award is very special. "Sonja Davies was all about social justice and making a more equitable society which is something I'm also passionate about. She was an icon for women's justice in New Zealand with strong links to the Nelson region".
Read more about Dr Swift's research achievement here (external link) .