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New Powers For Police Applauded


June 11, 2008


Media Release (For Immediate Release)


New Powers For Police Applauded

Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey applauds moves to give stronger powers to police in the area of family violence.

Under changes to the Domestic Violence Act, police will have the ability to order abusive partners out of their homes for up to 72 hours to enable them to “cool off”.

Mayor Harvey co-leads a Mayor Taskforce on Family Violence in Waitakere (along with Maori Party leader and local kaumätua Dr Pita Sharples).

Mayor Harvey says the law changes are another useful tool in the battle against the “cruel underbelly of life in many New Zealand homes”.

“Not only does this send a stronger message to wife and child beaters, but it also gives the innocent victims some safe time and space to sort things out,” says Mayor Harvey.

Among its initiatives, Mayor Harvey’s taskforce has joined with the Ministry of Social Development to roll out a localised version of the “It’s Not OK” campaign in Waitakere.

That includes billboards and advertising featuring prominent “westies” such as All Black Michael Jones, actors Annie Whittle and Robyn Malcolm and Tammy Davis (from the TV show Outrageous Fortune), and entertainer/comedian Pio Terei.

The billboard campaign is once again designed to raise awareness of family violence and help change attitudes and behaviour towards family violence.

“We can no longer sit around and shake our heads at yet another family violence incident or murder. We have had enough of the scourge that is family violence in this country and in this City.”

In New Zealand Police deal with more than 70,000 family violence calls a year.

“That’s an appalling statistic and we’ve got to do anything we can to bring it down through raising awareness of the issue and the agencies and channels available to help victims,” Mayor Harvey says.

When approached to lend her high profile to the campaign Robyn Malcolm was quick to accept.

“All that is good in our communities starts with the family. Children are our future and our hope,” she says. “Violence within the family contributes to the erosion of our communities and hope for a good future. If we do nothing else we must work all seasons for safer environments in which to raise our children.

“We must also work to provide greater support for those many families under such extreme pressure they then use violence as an out. It is a complex problem but one that must be dealt with. We are all responsible.”

Margaret Devlin is the Family Violence Prevention co-ordinator at Waitemata District Health Board. She says there are simple but effective measures people can take to keep themselves, and those they love, safe.

“You can have a code word to let friends know you need help, ask a neighbour to call police if they see or hear something wrong, and tell people you trust about your concerns,” she says.

“If you think you are in immediate danger you should call the police by dialling 111.”


ENDS

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