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Anti-violence campaigner Brian Gardner is challenging the Government to step up domestic violence prevention or face more horrific murders of women at the hands of their male partners.
National Manager of Strategic Relationships and Advocacy at the National Network of Stopping Violence, Te Kupenga, Mr Gardner says initiatives to address violence involving whanau and families – such as Whanau Ora – has the potential to be 'world leading'.
However, the recent release of the Government’s White Paper for Vulnerable Children is setting off alarm bells for organisations working to prevent men's violence to women and children.
Te Kupenga was an official supporter of the No To Violence 2012 Australasian Conference on Responses to Men’s Domestic and Family Violence held in Melbourne earlier this month (November 2012).
Today (Sunday November 25) marks the 21st anniversary of the international White Ribbon Day which mobilises action to eliminate violence towards women.
Mr Gardner says he is extremely concerned that the White Paper’s focus to protect children from violence does not have an equally significant emphasis on protecting their mothers from violence – and this flies in the face of international research.
“We applaud Minister Paula Bennett’s heartfelt desire to protect New Zealand children from violence but unless we protect their mothers and hold their fathers accountable for their violence, men, women and children will continue to be killed and traumatised.
“Governments from both sides of the political spectrum have worked hard to make a difference in protecting New Zealand whanau and families from violence, especially over the last 10 years.
“As we mark international White Ribbon Day – where men take a stand to never commit, condone or stay silent about violence to women – let’s not blow it now by making poor choices and poor investments about where we put our energy and resources in violence prevention.”
Mr Gardner says the 'No To Violence' conference highlighted the gains made to address violence towards New Zealand women over the past decade.
“If we fail to invest in stopping violence programmes, Women’s Refuge and the high profile ‘It's Not Ok’ campaign, we will once again fall behind and see the consequences of more murders, physical injuries and psychological harm."
Te Kupenga is a network of 42 independent community-based groups – from Whangarei to Invercargill – working to end violence and abuse in families. For more information about the National Network of Stopping Violence, go to www.nnsvs.org.nz.