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Police Victims Shining A Light On Violence - TRIGGER WARNING

Five police officers have taken a unique stand to publicly share their own 
experiences of being victims of violence on White Ribbon Day.

Today (25 November) is the international day against violence towards women. 
The day acknowledges men who promote healthy, respectful relationships and 

White Ribbon Ambassador and Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster says some of 
our police staff are doing more than wearing a white ribbon today.

“Five of our people have chosen to share publicly their own deeply personal 
experiences as victims of violence. Like everyone who does this, it’s an 
incredibly brave move.

"Another group of police staff from Eastern District have come forward 
anonymously to shine a light also, and I commend both groups for their very 
public declarations,” Commissioner Coster says.

“Police officers are not immune from these types of experiences. We are 
part of the wider community and unfortunately that means some of our people 
will be victims of violence.

“But hopefully by sharing their experiences, they will make it easier for 
victims of similar violence to come forward and seek help.”

In New Zealand, most violence by men against women takes place in the home 
– with an average of 14 women a year killed by their partners or 

Each year there are more than 3,500 convictions recorded against men for 
assaults on women and one in five women will experience sexual assault or 
sexual interference at some point in their lives.

*Genevieve, a Senior Sergeant talks about a violent boyfriend and how he 
forced her to have an abortion. *Charlotte, a Sergeant, describes how she was 
strangled and had her arm shattered by her abuser before leaving the 
relationship and pressing charges. Transgender Constable, Gwydion, describes 
how he was raped by a friend.

Forensic Officer *Felicity recalls a life like the movie Once were Warriors 
and how she received beatings from her abuser and one day thought she would 

Detective Jaimie Leigh spent time in Cholmondeley Respite Care Home for 
children when her parents separated, and she endured psychological harm from 
an angry and abusive father. At that time, Jaimie didn’t know her dad had 
suffered historical sexual abuse as a pupil at boarding school when he was a 

All these staff have been the victims of gender-based violence and share 
their experiences and journey out of their violent relationships to a better 
life and how their lives changed after joining Police. You can read their 
stories, in their words, here [1].

Eastern Police District has empowered some of their staff to come forward and 
share their childhood experiences of growing up in violent homes. Their 
voices have been altered to protect them and their families’ identities, as 
they wish to share their experiences anonymously. You can listen to their 
stories, here [2].

“Family violence is one of our country’s biggest problems. The Joint 
Venture to Eliminate Family Violence Sexual Violence, of which Police are a 
part, signals our intent to eliminate this problem in Aotearoa New 
Zealand,” Commissioner Coster says.

This work includes Police hosting integrated safety response (ISR) teams in 
Canterbury and Waikato. They take a whole-of-whānau approach that 
prioritises the needs of the whānau. The teams have dedicated staff, access 
to specialist services and an intensive case management approach to 
collectively working with high-risk families.

In other parts of the country, Police partner with iwi and community 
organisations within Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke (WNPH), a concept 
underpinned by collaboration and taking collective responsibility for the 

A common feature of this work is providing dedicated Police constabulary 
staff who work with kaiāwhina/kaipupuri (social workers/advocates) and 
partner agencies to support families and whānau at risk of harm, putting 
their voice at the centre of everything.

“Both these initiatives have had a significant impact on reducing harm and 
we can be proud of the work to date, while acknowledging there is still more 
to do,” says Commissioner Coster.

In the 2021 campaign, White Ribbon aims to link together resources and 
information to help show the diversity of the issues at stake and to offer 
ways to effect change. White Ribbon Organisation is already promoting 
healthy ideals within their Respectful Relationships framework [3].

[1] https://www.police.govt.nz/news/ten-one-magazine/police-victims-shine-light-violence
[2] https://player.vimeo.com/external/648797954.hd.mp4?s=1318e2789a25225328216bc9513159344368e8e8&profile_id=174&download=1
[3] https://whiteribbon.org.nz/

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