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White Ribbon Day 25 November 2008

White Ribbon Day 25 November 2008
New Zealand Police National News Release
9:04am 24 November 2008

Every day should be a white ribbon day if that would reduce the amount of harm that family violence is causing to our community, says Christchurch Family Safety Team member, Sergeant Jim Sole.

"It's not okay is a very simple and clear message that needs to be out there every day," says Jim and his team who all, along with community leaders, police and the public, will be wearing white ribbons next week around 25 November.

"We want to raise awareness and get people talking about it. It's not an issue people openly admit to for a number of often complex reasons", he says. "We know family violence occurs in all communities and all suburbs around the city, and we want people to talk about it. The more it is acknowledged, the more can be done to educate people and get people coming forward to get help. We want an environment where both those being abused and the abuser feel safe to speak up and say 'I want a hand-up'. The research confirms the damaging effects of violence on children and as a community we have a responsibility to speak for them as well. "

On average Christchurch Police attend 650 domestic violence incidents a month. The biggest majority see women as victims and men as offenders. "As men, that places the onus on us to stand up and take responsibility for ourselves and our 'brothers'."

This escalates to well in excess of 850 family violence incidents in the month leading up to and including Christmas. This fact is reflected in the deaths and serious injuries inflicted on the women and children of Canterbury.

Violence, in any form, is not acceptable and Police take a zero tolerance to it. The Canterbury Police remains committed to enforcement and education around violence and ensuring that victims' and children's safety is paramount and that offenders are held accountable.

The Family Safety team consist of four police officers and six advocates from Otautahi Women's Refuge. The team works with families that are at high risk of serious injury or death. The families are referred to them by a group of agencies that meet regularly to work collaboratively to protect primarily women and children. The agencies know that they can't solve these problems on their own and need to pool their knowledge and resources.

White Ribbon Day this year also marks the launch of the Australasian Police Strategy on Prevention and Reduction of Family Violence. This strategy involves all Police Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand joining forces to combat family violence.


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