Cuppa for anti abuse cam­paign

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Claire Rorke

New Zealan­ders need to speak openly about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to en­able vic­tims to come for­ward and ask for help, says Pre­vent­ing Vi­o­lence in the Home.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is rais­ing aware­ness about the prob­lem and fundrais­ing for its helpline by ask­ing work­places to host a morn­ing tea as part of New Zealand’s Big­gest Morn­ing Tea from Mon­day to June 20.

Pre­vent­ing Vi­o­lence part­ner­ship and train­ing man­ager Holly Car­ring­ton says do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims are of­ten too ashamed or afraid to ask for help.

“Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is not an is­sue that peo­ple are com­fort­able talk­ing about, which is a large part of the prob­lem. It does re­main a very se­cre­tive and hid­den is­sue.”

Pre­vent­ing Vi­o­lence in the Home helps vic­tims of abu­sive re­la­tion­ships – mostly women whose spouses phys­i­cally abuse them.

Along with its helpline, 0508 DVHELP or 0508-384-357, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has 40 vol­un­teer vic­tim ad­vo­cates who re­spond to call­outs from po­lice and hos­pi­tals.

Ad­vo­cates are con­tacted af­ter the of­fender has been re­moved from the home by the po­lice or the vic­tim has been trans­ported to hospi­tal.

Vic­tim ad­vo­cate Bridgit Brether­tonJones ap­proaches the role from a “non-in­tru­sive and non-judge­men­tal” per­spec­tive.

“We don’t say to a wo­man ‘you have to leave’.

“We’re there to in­form them about what their op­tions are and help with what­ever de­ci­sion they make.”

On av­er­age, it will take a wo­man seven at­tempts be­fore she is able to leave an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship.

Ms Car­ring­ton says the phone­line re­ceives calls from a cross sec­tion of women, all try­ing to deal with vi­o­lence in the home.

“It’s a very per­va­sive is­sue through all so­cioe­co­nomic groups and through all cul­tures,” she says.

“We see a lot of di­ver­sity with the vic­tims and of­fend­ers.”

The Big­gest Morn­ing Tea is de­signed to get peo­ple talk­ing about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence in an in­for­mal way, and raise money for the helpline.

“When peo­ple have morn­ing tea it is a very so­cial event,” Ms Car­ring­ton says.

“We want peo­ple to be­come more com­fort­able talk­ing about it so that there’s less stigma at­tached to be­ing a vic­tim of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the morn­ing tea visit www.pre­vent­ing vi­o­ – Claire Rorke is an AUT jour­nal­ism


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