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Families Commission Supports Boshier

Media release

Friday 20 November 2009

The Families Commission is supporting Judge Boshier’s call for a radical re-think of support for families through separation.

Earlier this year the Commission released an issues paper, What Separating Parents Need When Making Care Arrangements for their Children, describing the needs of families going through separation.

Families Commissioner Gregory Fortuin said separation was a key risk period for families.

“Separation is a traumatic time for children and parents. It can be a trigger for violence and suicide. Our early research findings show that most men cope well, but for some of us this major life-change is a struggle. If we are serious about preventing violence, we need to put in the supports to help people get through.”

The Commission’s issues paper also said that families were often wary of support offered through the courts.

“Families need services that they trust. The perceived lack of trust prevents families accessing help they need. Often families turn to informal supports, such as Citizens’ Advice Bureau or schools, and we need to ensure that these agencies have full information about how best to help families. Support is best when it is tailored to the particular family’s needs.”

Mr Fortuin says that the increased risk of family violence during separation is also one of the issues addressed in the annual White Ribbon campaign.

“White Ribbon Day, November 25, is an event for men to stand up against violence towards women. Now we are also asking that proper support be put in place to give families a chance to avoid violence. Culture change must be backed up with supportive policies, programmes, and environments.”

White Ribbon Day is coordinated by the Commission each year on 25 November and is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women. In New Zealand most violence by men against women takes place in the home – each year an average of 14 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners and more than 3500 convictions for assaults on women are recorded each year.


* In New Zealand most violence against 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 works with multiple agencies and NGOs to coordinate the national White Ribbon campaign including: UNIFEM, National Network of Stopping Violence Services, NZ Police, UNICEF, YWCA, Women’s Refuge, Jigsaw, Barnardos, Amnesty International, Relationship Services, YMCA, ACC, Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Ministry of Social Development, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice


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