Abuse statis­tics are sim­ply not ok

South Waikato News - - NEWS/OPINION -

In 2009 in New Zealand there were more than 54,000 re­ported fam­ily vi­o­lence of­fences, and 35 out of 55 mur­ders were fam­ily vi­o­lence re­lated.

This is why, on Novem­ber 25, White Rib­bon Day, New Zealan­ders are urged to stand up and be counted as peo­ple who will nei­ther con­done nor re­main silent about vi­o­lence in our fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.

It’s not just those who are di­rect vic­tims of phys­i­cal as­sault and emo­tional abuse we need to worry about.

The harm ex­pe­ri­enced by chil­dren who grow up in a vi­o­lent en­vi­ron­ment can be se­ri­ous. On­go­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of ne­glect, stress or trauma can se­ri­ously dam­age brain devel­op­ment in chil­dren, one of the con­tribut­ing causes of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional vi­o­lence where vic­tims, in turn, be­come abusers.

But there is hope. More than ever, New Zealan­ders are re­ject­ing vi­o­lence, helped, in part, by the It’s Not OK and White Rib­bon cam­paigns.

This year more than 100 com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions through­out New Zealand have com­mit­ted to par­tic­i­pate in the 2010 Na­tional White Rib­bon Cam­paign where men stand up against vi­o­lence to­ward women. Some 500,000 peo­ple will chose to wear a rib­bon.

The Fam­i­lies Com­mis­sion urges all Ki­wis to join them.

Whether it is as sim­ple as wear­ing a rib­bon or as com­mit­ted as of­fer­ing sup­port to a friend or fam­ily mem­ber in trou­ble, there is a mul­ti­tude of ways to help.

Let’s not make it a White Rib­bon Day but a White Rib­bon year and longer; a life-long com­mit­ment to the well­be­ing of our fam­i­lies, our whanau, our chil­dren and our fu­ture. Carl Davidson Chief Com­mis­sioner

Fam­i­lies Com­mis­sion

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