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Men's Hui Addresses Men's Violence to Women

4 May 2006

Men's Hui Addresses Men's Violence to Women and Children

A three day men's hui in Hamilton next week will look at ways men can address men's violence to women and children which has reached epidemic levels in New Zealand.

The hui is organised by National Network of Stopping Violence Services, the umbrella organisation for agencies working with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The focus of the hui is "social action – social change".

NNSVS national manager Brian Gardner said many men came to work in the stopping violence field because they wanted a society free from violence towards women and children.

"Many of us find ourselves so busy delivering crisis services with individual clients that the work at the "top of the cliff", the work on preventing violence before it happens, gets put to one side.

"The men's hui will focus on creating an action plan for social change, so we can contribute to a community where women and children are safe and live free from fear of family members," Mr Gardner said.

New Zealand has a very high rate of domestic violence and high tolerance in the community. This is reflected in national statistics with police attending 120 calls a day to incidents of family violence.

Statistics show that most perpetrators are men and most victims are women and children.

One in three women can expect to experience violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Fanslow and Robinson 2004) and about 10 children are killed every year in New Zealand by a family member.

Expert to Speak

Guest speaker at the hui is American domestic violence expert Paul Kivel.

Paul Kivel has 30 years experience working with men who use violence against women and children and community tools for addressing domestic violence.

He is giving public lectures and workshops around New Zealand during May. His topics include helping teenagers stop violence and how to stop the violence that tears our lives apart.

"At a very early age boys are told to 'act like a man'. Be tough, be aggressive, don't back down, don't make mistakes, be in control, take charge, have lots of sex, have money, be responsible, don't show any feelings and don't cry," he says.

"Men learn these patterns growing up in a society that condones and encourages violence towards women. Most men who batter their partners do not batter their boss or male friends.

"The strongest most effective model of intervention combines a co-ordinated community response, strong and clear sanctions against violence and re-education groups so that men can unlearn male dominance patterns and learn how to live in the world without the need for control and violence."

The hui is on May 9, 10 and 11 in Hamilton.


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