Family violence – we can make a difference

Family violence – we can make a difference

Commissioner Mike Bush

Ngā mihi. Today is White Ribbon Day and Police staff around New Zealand are taking part in events to raise awareness of this important campaign to end violence against women. It’s something all New Zealanders should get behind because family violence occurs in all our communities and causes immeasurable harm.

Every year, police attend more than 100,000 family violence events. That’s an average of about one every five minutes.

We’re working closely with a large number of government and non-government agencies to reduce and prevent the harm that’s being done, and we have a range of innovative initiatives under way. But we know that no matter what we do, the key to ending violence against women is to change the attitudes and culture of those who commit it, condone it or look the other way when they know it’s happening.

The White Ribbon campaign plays an important role in achieving this change by sending men the message that violence against women is never okay and encouraging them to take the White Ribbon pledge.

This morning, I hosted a White Ribbon breakfast at Police National Headquarters, which was attended by representatives from many of the organisations we’re working with in the family violence area. As well as a chance to thank them for their efforts, this was also an opportunity to underline the need for a team approach to what is a highly complex problem.

The event included a video interview with Auckland City Sergeant Tania Kingi, who gave a moving account of growing up in a violent home. She related how she’d once had to call police after her father threatened her mother with a knife. Their response inspired her to become a police officer so she could also protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.

As Tania puts it in the video, we can make a difference, which is why we’re working so hard to keep families safe.

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