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Forums to spread anti-family violence message

Child, Youth and Family and NGOs use ‘Once Were Warriors’ public forums to spread anti-family violence message

Child, Youth and Family is working alongside non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups and the director and cast of the new musical drama ‘Once Were Warriors’ to spread an anti-family violence message in a series of free public forums across the country.

Child, Youth and Family has joined forces with organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Relationship Services, UNICEF, Barnardos, Rape Crisis, Save the Children, Plunket, the National Network of Stopping Violence and the Mental Health Foundation, as well as Jim Moriarty, director of ‘Once Were Warriors’, to hold lunchtime public forums starting in Dunedin this Thursday (18 March). These will be followed by similar forums in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. The musical drama had its world premiere in Christchurch on 2 March.

At each public forum, Jim Moriarty, who has staged theatre therapy programmes in Child, Youth and Family residences, will discuss the inspiration and overall experience of adapting the novel of ‘Once Were Warriors’ into the stage show and the theme of family violence that permeates through the work, together with the importance of addressing this societal issue for the wellbeing of future generations of children and young people.

Performer Tina Cross, who plays abused wife Beth Heke, will speak about the demands of her role, how she prepared for it and how her character manages to break the cycle of violence experienced by her family for generations.

Finally, young people from the chorus will talk about the family violence they have personally experienced, the therapeutic influence of drama workshops on their lives and their feelings on being part of ‘Once Were Warriors’.

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During each forum all organisations involved will give out information to the public about anti-violence programmes run within local communities and on support services that those experiencing family violence can draw on.

Child, Youth and Family Acting General Manager Social Work Operations, Shannon Pakura, said: “These public forums are a high profile and inclusive way to discuss the issue of family violence with audiences who might not otherwise see the musical.

“Family violence is unacceptable. The message of ‘Once Were Warriors’, embodied by some members of the cast who have experienced this kind of abuse in their own lives, is that there is a way through it.”

Child, Youth and Family is currently working with the police to establish more robust collaboration around family violence incidents including standards for making a notification to the call centre. This is expected to be completed in the next three months.

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