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Barnados Comment On Once Were Warriors


For immediate use

“Congratulations to Jim Moriarty and his team on their production of the Once were Warriors musical,” said Murray Edridge, Chief Executive of Barnardos. “While providing good entertainment, the show confronts New Zealand once again with our unacceptably high levels of family violence.”

“The temptation is, of course, to simply say it’s just entertainment. Or worse, to say that our family is different from the Heke’s and I’m no Jake. But that’s a cop-out. Jake Heke is a New Zealander – he lives under the same legal system, one that has some critical contradictions in it when it comes to family violence,” continued Murray Edridge.

“On the one hand the law offers zero tolerance when Jake assaults Beth. But if he were to hit any of the children, the law, Section 59 of the Crimes Act, asks whether the force was reasonable in the circumstances. Why the difference? Quite simply because they are children.”

The Domestic Violence Act offers another contradiction. Under Section 3 of this Act, domestic violence includes children subject to physical violence and even just witnessing physical violence. There is no question of whether the force used was reasonable in the circumstances. Clearly the law is confused and children suffer as a consequence.”

“Go to the show, enjoy it, but also reflect on the need to change attitudes and behaviours, and repeal section 59 as part of a national commitment to eliminate family violence in all its forms,” Murray Edridge concluded.


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