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Give the gift of help this summer

Give the gift of help this summer says It’s not OK family violence campaign

Family violence never takes a holiday so the It’s not OK campaign against family violence is urging people to help each other this summer.

Violence in the home usually escalates over Christmas and January. Calls to police increase as family situations get out of control.

“Only 20 per cent of people experiencing violence at home ever contact police or social services.

Most people reach out to friends and family first,” says Trish Green, manager of the It’s not OK campaign against family violence. “That’s why we’re saying it is OK to help when you are worried about someone you know, whether they are being hurt or are hurting someone else.”

The It’s not OK campaign often hears stories of effective help.

Joy Johnson, of Taupo, began making a special point of saying hi to a child in her neighbourhood whose family was violent. Years later, he came to her when he needed help. “I realised that all those small actions like smiling and saying hello had paid off because when he needed help he came to me – in his mind I was a safe adult.”

Aucklander Kate, who was in a violent relationship, kept hoping people would ask ‘Are you OK?’.

“I was getting to the stage of thinking, ‘Will someone just notice that I’m a mess, tearful all the time and stressed, and do something?’” Finally, a church leader understood, and the couple began to get practical and professional help, Kate says.

Tim Marshall, coordinator of the Tauawhi Men’s Centre in Gisborne, says timing is vital when men want to talk. “In my experience, when men have got up the courage to ask for help they don’t want to wait, they want to nail it right now.” Often, listening without judgment is the best help.

There are lots of ways each of us can offer help to people we know this summer.

Give the gift of help this summer

Small acts of kindness can make a big difference – offering food, taking children on an outing, spending time listening.

Family violence never takes a holiday

If you know or suspect violence is happening, don’t ignore it.

Christmas is not OK if there’s violence at home

If the stress is getting to you, take a walk and calm down.

Spend time not money

Don’t spend more than you can afford – talk about how to keep expenses down this summer.

Value older people in your whanau

It’s important for older members of the family to have a say in how they will contribute to celebrations – financially and in other ways too.

If people are in immediate danger, dial 111 and ask for the police. Find out more at www.areyouok.org.nz


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