Stop­ping vi­o­lence and re­claim­ing com­mu­nity

The Leader (Nelson) - - Police - By STEVE GRE­ALLY

It was a huge re­lief to me and my staff that the mat­ter of the hor­rific at­tack on a woman at Vic­tory Com­mu­nity Gar­dens on New Year’s Day has been re­solved quickly with last Mon­day’s guilty plea by Hil­ton Heke.

Our re­lief was be­cause the woman in­volved will not now have to be sub­jected to the fur­ther trauma of a long and drawn out trial. We can only hope now that she will be able to start the long jour­ney of re­claim­ing her life.

Ter­ri­ble events pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­di­vid­u­als, or in this case an en­tire com­mu­nity, to show their real back­bone. I have noth­ing but ad­mi­ra­tion for the Vic­tory com­mu­nity and the way peo­ple came to­gether and made it very clear that ac­tions like this have no place in our so­ci­ety.

I was at the bless­ing of the com­mu­nity gar­dens where peo­ple of all ages and from all walks of life turned up to show their sup­port. It was an emo­tional event, but it showed there was a rea­son to carry on.

I would like to ac­knowl­edge De­tec­tive Sergeant Ian Lan­gridge and the en­tire po­lice team in­volved with this op­er­a­tion. Many of those staff in­ter­rupted their sum­mer hol­i­days and vol­un­teered to come back to work to help out.

What many peo­ple don’t re­alise is that po­lice of­fi­cers like Ian don’t just turn up when they’re paid to solve crimes. Ian is also Chair­man of the Board of SVS – Liv­ing Safe (for­merly Stop­ping Vi­o­lence Ser­vices).

SVS – Liv­ing Safe pro­vides ed­u­ca­tion, coun­selling and sup­port for any­one af­fected by fam­ily vi­o­lence. The or­gan­i­sa­tion has been around for about 20 years and was orig­i­nally called Men Against Rape. Over the years it has evolved into stop­ping vi­o­lence ser­vices and sup­port for men and women. This now in­cludes com­pre­hen­sive ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port for sur­vivors, part­ners and young peo­ple.

Very soon SVS – Liv­ing Safe will be tak­ing over ser­vice de­liv­ery in Motueka.

I en­cour­age any­one who has is­sues with their own, or some­one else’s vi­o­lent be­hav­iour, to seek this or other sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tions out.

Photo: MARION VAN DIJK

Stand­ing to­gether: Part of the crowd gath­ered out­side the Vic­tory Com­mu­nity Cen­tre for the Bless­ing and Re­claim­ing cer­e­mony of the Vic­tory Com­mu­nity Gar­dens fol­low­ing the New Year’s Day rape.

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