A group of police officers will be running a relay between Rotorua and Taupo on Wednesday in support of a Rotorua mother who is raising awareness of domestic abuse.
Kahira Rata-Olley was a victim of abuse for almost 15 years, and she has chosen the annual White Ribbon Day to embark on a gruelling 250km run from her home town to Napier over four days. At least 12 police officers will be showing their support on the first leg of her ‘Running to Stop It’ campaign; each officer covering between 5km and 30km in a relay led by Tanya Hemara, Site Manager for Rotorua Child Youth and Family.
This is just one of a number of ways in which police staff across the Bay of Plenty will be marking White Ribbon Day; which internationally calls for the elimination of violence against women.
Bay of Plenty District Family Violence Coordinator Graham Perks said: “Family violence causes significant family harm and remains a daily priority for police, but we know incidents still go unreported and White Ribbon Day is a valuable opportunity to remind people of the importance of taking a stand. It is the responsibility of all of us to work to prevent family harm and make our families safer.
“This year’s focus is on respectful relationships. The men in our community are being asked to look at themselves and ask the question ‘What kind of guy do I want to be?’ We want to see men showing their partners respect, not exerting power over them or controlling them. A consensual relationship where both parties have a choice is vital to a healthy relationship.
“We want our men having the strength to influence their mates and colleagues, by saying violence towards women ‘is not OK’. Let’s use White Ribbon as an opportunity to discuss these issues with our young men, be role models and shape a future where violence and abuse of any kind is not acceptable”.
The community can also join police at a variety of White Ribbon events around the district. It is an opportunity to show support for the cause and to find out what support services are available in an informal, anonymous and non-judgemental environment. Among the events are:
· Wednesday, 25 November - Police, partner agencies and White Ribbon Riders will be involved in an event hosted by Lakes District Health Board at Rotorua Hospital. This will take place in the atrium of the hospital between 9am and 10am.
· Wednesday, 25 November - Staff in a number of Rotorua cafes, hairdressers and barbers will be wearing White Ribbon t-shirts and using barber’s capes with the White Ribbon logo to prompt conversations.
· Wednesday, 25 November – Family Violence Community Day led by the Salvation Army and supported by Police and other family violence partner agencies. 11am on the corner of Bridge Street and Leath Place.
· Wednesday, 25 November – A march against violence through Opotiki at 10,30am.
· Saturday, 28 November - Community event on Rotorua’s village green from 1pm until 4pm.
The White Ribbon Riders are currently travelling across New Zealand as part of their annual ride, and will making stops in Whakatane, Edgecumbe and Kawerau and Tauranga tomorrow (Tuesday) before heading over to Rotorua on Wednesday.
Remember violence is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, so if you are the victim of violence, or you know someone who is being abused speak out. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger call 111. Women's Refuge Crisis Line also offers a 24hr helpline service on 0800 REFUGE.
There are a number of other national and local support services that can provide useful help and advice.
For more information about where to get help and how you can help if you know someone affected by family violence go to www.areyouok.org.nz or call 0800 456 450.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.