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Govt committed to ending violence against women

Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Women’s Affairs

Hon Mark Burton
Minister of Justice

25 November 2006 Media Statement

Govt committed to ending violence against women

Women's Affairs Minister Lianne Dalziel and Justice Minister Mark Burton today highlighted the problem of violence against women by placing white ribbons on the pillars at the top of the steps of Parliament.

The ministers, who are both on the Family Violence Ministerial Team, asked all New Zealanders to endorse the anti-violence message through the wearing of a white ribbon on White Ribbon Day this Saturday.

"The government is committed to eliminating violence against women, but it is not something that we can do by simply legislating against it. This requires an attitudinal change. I am pleased New Zealand men are setting an example by challenging their peers on attitudes and behaviour that condone, support and tolerate violence towards women," Mark Burton said.

Lianne Dalziel acknowledged that domestic violence was a two way street, but said the hard facts showed that domestic violence remained a gender issue.

"It is women who experience the fear, it is women who are hospitalised, and it is women who die," she said.

Police statistics confirm that in 2001 85 per cent of reported family violence cases involved women as victims, and that between 2000-2004 94 per cent of family violence-related murders were perpetrated by men. In real terms, 54 women were murdered by men with whom they had a domestic relationship while, conversely, three men were murdered by women.

White Ribbon Day was started in 1991 by a men’s movement in Canada, with the United Nations officially adopting 25 November as its International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Government initiatives in New Zealand include establishing the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families comprising representatives of government and non-government sectors, the police, the Families Commission and the judiciary; increased funding for Women’s Refuge and other NGOs working in this sector; research on the causes of family violence; research on the effectiveness of protection orders; and rolling out violence intervention projects around the country.

Lianne Dalziel said the Taskforce was taking a long-term strategic approach and an associated campaign is intended to target different forms of family violence, based on good research and continuous evaluation.

"The initial focus, in line with the Taskforce's recommendations, will be on changing the attitudes and behaviour of men who are violent towards their partners," Lianne Dalziel said.

The ministers called on both men and women to wear white ribbons on Saturday to acknowledge the fact that violence occurs by acts of commission and omission.

"The wearing of the ribbon is not only symbolic of a promise never to commit or condone violence against women, it is also a promise not to remain silent in the face of such violence. We all have a responsibility to stand up and speak out against violence," Mark Burton said.

ENDS

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