14 Jan 2015

Nauru agency promotes understanding

5:29 pm on 14 January 2015

The new agency helping to resettle refugees on Nauru says its familiarisation sessions will help deal with isolated cases of violence against refugees on the island.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

There have been reports of violence directed against some of the asylum seekers who've had their refugee status approved and been released into the community from the island's Australian-run detention centre.

Belinda McLennan of the Australia-based agency Ames says violence against refugees is not unusual and promoting understanding is an important part of the job.

"Once people get to know each other some of those concerns they might have had about these unknown people start to be broken down and friendships start to develop and mutual respect and recognition takes over. From our limited experience at this stage, the episodes of violence as they've been portrayed in the media while they're real, they're isolated, and generally the Nauruan community is a very welcoming community."

Belinda McLennan says the agency's staff are trained to deal with trauma and torture and they'll provide ongoing counselling for the resettled refugees.