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Norm Hewitt plays key role in anti-abuse campaign

Norm Hewitt to play key role in anti-abuse education campaign



Part of the family: Norm Hewitt with daughter, Elizabeth (2) and Huna the cat . “I’m teaching her to be kind to animals, so she’ll grow up to respect others”, says Norm.

ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

For release: 1 November 2006

SPCA TO LAUNCH MAJOR DRIVE AGAINST ABUSE OF ANIMALS AND HUMANS

Norm Hewitt to play key role in anti-abuse education campaign

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The Royal New Zealand SPCA will this Friday (3rd November) launch a major educational campaign aimed at reducing violence against both animals and humans. The launch's date has been chosen to coincide with the start of the SPCA's Annual Appeal week, which lasts from 3rd to 10th November.

The campaign, will give a lead role to former All Black and 'Dancing with the Stars' Champion, Norm Hewitt, who will be leading the anti-abuse campaign and supporting the educational programme into schools throughout NZ over the next three years.

"We've called the campaign 'One of the Family' because we want animals to be safe, secure and loved members of the human families whose homes they share. And we also think that a family that truly cares for its animal members, will be a loving and responsible unit in which everyone is respected and children are safe," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.

"Norm will take the campaign to selected schools in the Bay of Plenty, South Auckland and Wellington between now and Christmas, in the company of local SPCA representatives.

"Each year, the SPCA investigates numerous cases of violence and cruelty towards animals and, all too often, the perpetrators are children or teenagers. This is of clear and obvious concern to the SPCA, particularly when we know how the violence can escalate.

"Cruelty to animals is also an important indicator of inter-human violence. Many serious offenders commence their careers with sadistic acts against animals. Moreover, abuse or neglect of animals is often a symptom of general family violence or of children mirroring the violent behaviour meted out to them.

"Through 'One of the Family', we hope to influence young people before negative patterns of behaviour become entrenched. We aim to show that caring for animals, and particularly your own family's pets, can be incredibly satisfying. And we want children to experience the sense of empowerment that comes from taking responsibility for a creature that is dependent on you.

"An animal friend will offer love and companionship and never criticise you, even when everyone else seems to be doing just that. It's a perfect way of learning about the rewards that come from loving relationships," she adds.

Along with its work in schools, the SPCA will be running a public awareness campaign, featuring Norm Hewitt and encouraging understanding of the link between abuse of animals and humans,and particularly family violence. Families and communities need to support children in their positive behaviour towards animals.

"We're delighted that Norm has agreed to become involved with 'One of the Family'. He's a perfect example for the campaign, as he understands from his own experience, all of the issues we will be addressing," says Robyn Kippenberger.

"Norm has a young family and works pro-actively with young people through out NZ. He has been very open about his own experience of violence and is committed to breaking the cycle. As a boy, Norm had a dog who was his best friend and he now takes pleasure in the relationships between his children and the Hewitt family's animal members.

"It will be an expensive task to visit schools right across the country, but it's a job that needs to be done. We're not in receipt of government funding for this campaign or for most other aspects of our work. But we hope that every New Zealander opposed to abuse of animals and humans will consider donating to our campaign. It's an investment in our future as a caring, responsible country," Ms Kippenberger says.

Donations to the SPCA's 'One of the Family' campaign can be made online at www.oneofthefamily.co.nz, by telephoning 0900 FAMILY (0900 326 459) to make a $20.00 donation or by texting the SPCA to 4483 for a $3.00 donation. Children are asked to get their parent's permission before dialling the 0900 number.


ENDS

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