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Taking a stand against violence towards women

White Ribbon Day – taking a stand against violence towards women in BOP

Activities will be taking place across the Bay of Plenty District this week in support of White Ribbon Day 2010 – an internationally recognised day where communities take a stand against violence towards women.

Senior Sergeant Warwick Morehu, the Bay of Plenty Police District's Acting District Family Violence Co-ordinator, says White Ribbon Day is a chance for Police, partner agencies and the community to come together to show their support in combating family violence.

In 2009 there were approximately 91,000 family violence incidents and offences in New Zealand with Police attending one incident every seven minutes. Children were present at over 50% of these incidents.

In the Bay of Plenty District, Police attended a total of 8174 Family Violence incidents in the fiscal year 1 July, 2009 to 30 June, 2010. As a result, 5322 charges were laid.

"Frankly, these are appalling statistics, but sadly, family violence is a fact of life for far too many people in our communities.

"Family Violence is not okay and we must all work together to help break this cycle. Family Violence is a serious crime and it happens in all ethnic, cultural, socio-economic and age groups.

"Ongoing public awareness campaigns like "It's Not OK" have helped spread the message and more people are reporting incidents of Family Violence than ever before.

"This is a positive development as it indicates that communities are starting to take a stand against Family Violence, however there is s great deal of work still to be done."

Senior Sergeant Morehu says Family Violence is a key strategic focus for Bay of Plenty Police.

"Our strategy is a positive action approach, meaning that we will always take action of some kind. Our policy is to make victims and their families safe by making the offender accountable.

"We will arrest and/or remove offenders for a "cooling off" period before being put before the Courts, and we then work with other agencies and organisations to help develop sustainable solutions for families to move forward."

Senior Sergeant Morehu says the Police Safety Orders (PSO), which came into effect in July this year, have helped Police in their efforts to address Family Violence. The orders mean that Police can use a PSO to remove someone from a house who is causing or could potentially cause harm to others living there.

Bay of Plenty Police have issued 216 PSO since 1 July – second only to the Counties Manukau Police District who issued 241 PSO in the same period.

"Police recognise the serious and negative harm caused to our communities by Family Violence, however we can't combat this issue alone. We need the community to help us do this and by doing the right thing by reporting family violence and spreading the word that it's not okay."

If you know someone who is a victim of family violence or someone who is committing family violence please contact your local Police station or contact the CrimeStoppers hotline anonymously on 0800 555 111.

White Ribbon Day is held on 25 November every year.

The following activities are planned in the Bay of Plenty Police District:

• Eastern Bay of Plenty Area:
White Ribbons to be tied around trees around Whakatane and Police and partner agency buildings
BBQ at Whakatane Police Station on Wednesday 24 November
White Ribbon Men on Bikes at James Street School at 2pm
Bouncy castle and other activities in Kawerau township

• Western Bay of Plenty Area
Tug of War at Fraser Cove, 5:30pm Thursday 25 November

• Rotorua Area
Range of activities in City Focus on Thursday 25 November

• Taupo Police Area
Breakfast in Horomatangi Street, Taupo CBD from 8am to 10am on Thursday 25 November
Brunch in Tokoroa township on Thursday 25 November

For further information about local events, please contact your Police Area Family Violence Co-ordinator.

ENDS

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