RAW moves to Christchurch in aid of NZ women
For Immediate Release
RAW moves to Christchurch in aid of NZ women
Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur, Annah Stretton’s Reclaim Another Woman (RAW) campaign is set to move into Christchurch after its hugely successful Waikato pilot. RAW is an initiative through which women who have lived with family violence are linked with a businesswoman who, as mentor, supports them to work towards their dreams and goals.
Christchurch will welcome the third RAW site following Hamilton and the recently established Tauranga branches.
After the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 domestic violence statistics spiked, compelling Stretton to introduce RAW to the region as one of the first areas to be offered the service at completion of the pilot. Calls to one Christchurch-based agency, Aviva (formerly Christchurch Women's Refuge) increased by 50% following the February 2011 quake, and have remained at those same elevated levels ever since as families negotiate their way through the ongoing stresses of a post-earthquake environment. Aviva now has 33% more clients than it did pre-earthquakes.
Since launching RAW in March this year over 70 women have been matched in the mentor and mentoree relationships in the Waikato and Stretton is keen to extend the concept to many more women that have been victims of domestic violence and will benefit from the RAW mentoring service.
“Through RAW, capable women - including myself - will set aside the time to offer a guiding hand, a trusted ear and a confidante,” Annah explains. “With this one-on-one support, from someone who will never judge but always listen and has certainly lived a very different life, I believe that women can begin to identify new pathways forward and begin to explore a range of new options and hopefully ignite some very necessary self-belief.”
The mentor offers company and support and together, with the RAW program can endeavour to break what is an extremely vicious and destructive cycle within this country.
“The plan was always to take RAW nationally but we didn’t expect things to move this quickly,” Stretton explains. “We are however, well-equipped and supported to extend the pilot and have some wonderful partner relationships in place."
Aviva, with its long history of supporting women and children to overcome family violence, is one of the specialist agencies that RAW will be working with in order to extend its mentoring support to as many women as possible.
“We know that women who have lived with family violence often need the support of specialist agencies like ours to become safe but that is not the end of the journey,” says Aviva CEO Nicola Woodward. “Remaining safe and achieving a fulfilled life free from violence requires a broader range of services over a longer period of time. RAW has great potential as another piece in the jigsaw of options for women who are overcoming the effects of family violence by supporting them to identify and work towards personal or professional goals. At Aviva we think RAW really complements our Specialist Peer Support and Pathway to Employment services for women.”
RAW is also engaging with agencies within the Canterbury Family Violence Collaboration, a collective of over 50 family violence related services in Canterbury working on sector wide initiatives to improve the systemic response to family violence in Canterbury.
“The collaboration welcomes RAW to Christchurch and is excited about the passion and enthusiasm Annah brings to the sector. We look forward to working with RAW towards achieving our vision that everyone in Canterbury enjoys safe and respectful relationships.” – John Henderson, Reference Group Chair – Canterbury Family Violence Collaboration.
The Christchurch site will be launched in an event on Monday, 26 May at the Annah Stretton Colombo Mall store.
To learn more about RAW or visit www.raw.org.nz
Follow RAW on Facebook www.facebook.com/reclaiminganotherwoman
ABOUT ANNAH STRETTON:
Annah Stretton is the founder of the Annah Stretton fashion label and is a wildly successful New Zealand entrepreneur, author and speaker. With an online following of over 210,000, over 30 retail stores, 3 books and a strong business leadership programme under her belt, Annah frequently appears in the media and on stage discussing everything from entrepreneurialism, living fearlessly, females in the work force, right through to her philanthropic efforts which provide substantial support to a very wide range of charitable groups and organisations across New Zealand. In September, 2013 Annah released her third book, Rock the Boat. She has also been the recipient of the coveted Veuve Clicquot Award.