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White Ribbon sends message to Politicians

White Ribbon serves up positive message to Politicians
17 November 2010

Politicians were served a message about White Ribbon by the Families Commission over breakfast in Parliament Buildings.

With more than 54,000 reported family violence offences and 35 family violence murders in New Zealand in the year to 30 June 2010, it’s no surprise that respondents to a recent survey of what issues Kiwis are most concerned about, ranked family violence as the single most important social issue they want to see progress on.

“The effects of Family Violence are far reaching and across all of New Zealand regardless of ethnicity, location and wealth,” says Chief Families Commissioner, Carl Davison. “It will take many many years to eliminate. We need both cross party support and political leadership from all our MPs to tackle the scourge that inflicts so much misery in our homes.”

The breakfast for politicians came about following a discussion with Minister Turia on how to build political consensus.

“The White Ribbon Campaign has focused on men talking to men in ways that men understand, and we felt it this was a terrific opportunity to let our members of Parliament know how they can work with White Ribbon,” says Mr Davidson.
“One way of achieving effective change is to raise awareness and encourage action to decrease our nation’s tolerance of violence, and increase the willingness of witnesses, perpetrators and victims to report incidents and seek help.

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“To do this we need assistance from our political leaders and respected men with influence and profile who can lead by example, showing that respectful relationships and a rejection of violence are values worth emulating. Men such as Ruben Wiki, or the new White Ribbon Ambassador, Stan Walker, who in order to strengthen the lives of others, are willing to talk about the turmoil that family violence wreaked upon his family,” says Mr Davidson.

Speaking at the breakfast, White Ribbon Ambassador Alfred Ngaro agreed. “Men are very much a part of the solution. But it’s not just about high profile men. All men can be part of the answer by providing the leadership needed so our families can grow and develop without experiencing the harmful effects of violence.”

The White Ribbon Campaign begins an increased period of activity with The White Ribbon Ride leaving Tauranga on Saturday while communities across New Zealand begin to host events and activities aimed at raising awareness and encouraging people to take action.

Key Messages of the White Ribbon Campaign:
Violence towards women is unacceptable It is ok to ask for or offer help. No violence within families is tolerable. If someone within the family is being frightened or intimidated by the behaviour of someone else, it is not OK. Violence isn’t just the physical, it’s also emotional or verbal behaviour used to control someone through fear. Things we say, or don’t say, contribute to the abuse.

Men must stand up and provide leadership. White Ribbon Day is the international day when people, particularly men, wear a white ribbon to show they won’t tolerate, condone or remain silent about violence against women. It originated as a men’s movement in Canada and is now part of the United Nations annual calendar (International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women). The Families Commission took a leadership role in New Zealand in 2006.

Men are part of the solution. Whether you are a father, brother, uncle, granddad or cousin – we all want to keep our families safe. We all want our children to grow up and have happy healthy relationships. By simply wearing a white ribbon you can make it clear to other men that you do not tolerate violence against women.

You can also make sure your home, your business or your sports club is a safe environment where abusive behaviour is not tolerated. The White Ribbon Day campaign encourages men to talk openly about family violence, to support men who want to change their abusive behaviour and to challenge comments, statements and actions by men that are abusive.

Statistics in New Zealand: In New Zealand most violence towards women takes place in the home. In violence between couples, it is men’s violence that is most likely to cause serious physical or psychological harm. An average of 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex partners. There are over 3500 convictions recorded against men each year for assaults on women. One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives.

The Families Commission and White Ribbon Committee works with multiple agencies and NGOs to coordinate the national campaign. The White Ribbon campaign complements but is separate to the family violence It’s Not OK campaign.


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