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Community ideas on preventing family violence

28 January 2001 Media Statement

Government to seek community ideas on preventing family violence

Four community workshops are being organised in February and March to seek the views of community-based organisations on ways to prevent family violence, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The Government is this year developing an action plan to prevent family violence. The action plan will draw on expert and sector group opinion, professional literature and results of the four workshops. Invitations to the community workshops, which will be held in Porirua (20 February),Wanganui (22 February), Christchurch (27 February) and Thames/Hauraki (1 March) are being sent out this week to organisations and groups which provide services, or have an interest, in family violence prevention within those communities.

"Family violence remains a significant social issue in New Zealand. A conservative 1994 study estimated that 1 in 7 families in New Zealand were affected by family violence and that had an estimated economic cost of $1.2b annually.

"It is intolerable that women and childen in the 21st century are forced to live in fear, unable to realise their potential. This year the Ministry of Social Policy is developing an action plan for me on the further initiatives we can take as a society to prevent family violence.

"The Government wants to hear from community-based groups who work with this issue every day about how they think violence can be stopped. Information gathered from the workshops will be used to develop the action plan.

"Four diverse communities across New Zealand have been chosen to host workshops. Groups and organisations including Women's Refuge, Men’s Stopping Violence and Rape Crisis groups; Child, Youth and Family, Te Puni Kokiri and the Police; Barnardos and Age Concern; and relevant Maori, Pacific and other ethnic service providers are being invited to attend.

"Progress has been made over recent years to the point where family violence is no longer a taboo subject. But too many families are still suffering. Ending this violence must be our goal," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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