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NZ encouraged to stop tolerating violence

Jigsaw encourages New Zealanders to stop tolerating violence and act early to stop kids getting hurt

Jigsaw (formerly Child Abuse Prevention Services), a 30 year old national network of community organisations working across New Zealand to 'help families put together what's best for their children' is changing its name on 31st July.

Its focus on preventing child abuse, neglect and family violence remains as strong as ever and its member agencies will continue to provide a range of high quality services to help children and families in their local communities.

Jigsaw's primary national focus has shifted from crisis intervention to prevention and early intervention. "We are developing prevention strategies aimed at challenging society's tolerance for family violence. We want it to be the norm for ordinary people everywhere to challenge all forms of violence in families and to take a stand against child abuse by protecting and nurturing New Zealand's children so they can blossom in their families" says Liz Kinley, Chief Executive (strategic operations).

When there are risks to children Jigsaw provides an opportunity for getting help early. Last year Jigsaw's national 0800 child abuse prevention line took over 2000 calls from members of the public worried about the safety of children. The line is the only specialised non-government child abuse prevention line in New Zealand.

"It is so encouraging to have parents, family members and others who care about children's wellbeing ringing our line, talking over their worries and getting professional advice about what they can do to keep our children safe from harm. Every time someone calls the Jigsaw line there is one more family getting the help they need to keep their children safe" Liz Kinley said.

Jigsaw has member agencies based in different communities around the country, helping families make changes that stop their children getting hurt. When people ring the 0800 line, if they need further help Jigsaw can put them in touch with the kind of service they need in their own local community. When there are serious and immediate risks to children, Jigsaw can support them to get the help they need from Child Youth and Family or the Police.

Jigsaw's advice to people concerned about children is always to ask for help as early as possible. It is much easier to stop patterns of behaviour involving child abuse, neglect and family violence when destructive behaviours are recognised early and action taken to change them.

Liz Kinley says "Many people don't know what to do when a child is being hurt or is living in a family where there is violence. They may feel that it's not their business or that they have no right to interfere. Jigsaw's message is that we all have responsibility for the welfare of our children. It is no use standing back or waiting until it's too late. If people are worried about a child's safety and aren't sure what to do they can ring the Jigsaw 0800 line (0800 228 737) and talk things over. That way they will be supported to make their own decision about what they can best do to help.

We are as distressed as everyone when another child is harmed, however we know it is possible for us to become a society that is proud of its track record on child abuse rather than ashamed. Jigsaw's role is to help New Zealanders find the path forward, moving from shame to pride. To do that we need to stop accepting violence as an everyday part of our society and focus on creating peace at all levels in our family and community life."

Hon David Benson-Pope, Cindy Kiro the Children's Commissioner and New Zealand personality Judy Bailey will launch Jigsaw's new name and website (www.jigsaw.org.nz) at a function at parliament on 31st July at 5:30pm.

On 1 August Jigsaw will launch 'kids are unbeatable', a joint campaign with The Body Shop, in Civic Square, Wellington at 12 noon.

ENDS

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