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Campaign planned to change NZ attitude to violence

Media release
28 July 2006

National campaign planned to change New Zealanders’ attitudes toward violence

Communities, national leaders, local organisations and central government will all have a part to play in a new long term campaign to prevent family violence.

The campaign, led by the Ministry of Social Development and the Families Commission, is one of the recommendations from the work of the Taskforce for Action on Violence Within Families.

The campaign will be designed to change attitudes and behaviour within society so that people are much less tolerant of family violence. The government is providing $11.5m dollars and the Families Commission is providing $2.5m for the initiative.

“We have a shameful record of family violence. Last year 29 people were murdered in family violence-related incidents. We have one of the developed world’s highest rates of child abuse deaths. Families also suffer the toll of injuries, psychological trauma, and the upheaval caused by family breakdown. If we are to turn this around we need to become a nation that rejects all forms of violence. We want our children to grow up expecting to enjoy healthy positive relationships and refusing to settle for anything less,” said the Chief Commissioner of the Families Commission, Rajen Prasad.
The campaign to change attitudes and behaviours will take place on many fronts and cut across all sectors of society, involving national as well as local activities and action.

“Community-owned prevention initiatives will be supported as part of the campaign. Government and local organisations are already working together to identify and build on existing successful work. Communities will also receive funding and resources to target attitudes and behaviour.

At the same time leaders from all sectors of society will help set the direction of the programme and be involved in promoting public education and awareness initiatives.

Ongoing research and evaluation of the success of the campaign and its initiatives will be centrally co-ordinated.

“The Ministry of Social Development and the Commission already have work underway to find out what motivates the men who abuse their partners and children. Through interviews with these men and people around them, we will find the triggers that may cause them to change their behaviour,” said Dr Prasad.

The first stage of the long term campaign will target men who are violent toward their partners. Other stages will target different aspects of family violence.


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