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Anti-Violence Network Challenges Politicians


Anti-Violence Network Challenges Politicians

The National Network of Stopping Violence, Te Kupenga, is urging politicians to adopt a tougher law and order stance on family violence.

National manager Brian Gardner – a White Ribbon Ambassador – says he is encouraged by National’s election pledge to double the penalties for breaches of protection orders and fund security improvements for the homes of family violence victims.

However, Mr Gardner says any incoming government must not “get sucked into thinking that doing this solves the problem”.

Te Kupenga is a network of 42 independent community-based organisations – from Whangarei to Invercargill – working to end violence and abuse in families.

“Men’s violence to women is a multi-faceted issue that needs a multi-faceted response ... community agencies such as ours needs the government to keep supporting what they are already doing, fix those things that aren’t getting done and keep the focus on eliminating violence against women.

”We need to ensure the availability of community support such as Women’s Refuge, support for victims of violence through the court system and ensure adequate housing and income.

“If we do these things, then we will continue to see domestic violence assaults and murders dropping at an even faster rate than they are at present.”

In the latest New Zealand Police statistics for 2010-2011, recorded family violence-related offences dropped 3.1 per cent.

Mr Gardner says many men who breached protection orders have been able to get away with it in the past.

“If we are serious about women’s safety, then we need to show it. The critical thing is that the breach is taken seriously and followed up by the police and the courts – you can have all the penalties in the world but if you don’t follow up consistently every time, it won’t make any difference.

“The same must apply to men who are referred to stopping violence programmes but fail to attend or complete the course. The research is clear – men who attend and complete stop violence programmes are less likely to use violence in the future.

“We need to ensure that we put as much energy into following up programme non-attendance as we do into raising the penalties for protection order breaches – then we will really be getting somewhere.”

For more information about Te Kupenga, go to the website www.nnsvs.org.nz or for the latest news on White Ribbon Day – Friday November 25 – go to www.whiteribbon.org.nz.


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