Jude Simpson MNZM was nine when her stepmother began beating her.
By the time she turned 14 she had been stripped of her self-worth. Jude was demeaned, despised and abused for so many years, she couldn’t see a way out.
But an intervention changed her life.
After being arrested on charges in relation to a robbery, which nearly saw her imprisoned, Jude was sent on a course by the Ministry of Social Development.
She was introduced to the facilitator of the programme – and it was a major turning point.
“Something in my life needed to change, but I just didn't know what and I didn't know how,” she says.
“I went to that course and met a fabulous woman, Debs Chase-Patterson, who changed my life. That was nearly 20 years ago. I feel incredibly lucky she came into my life and gave me an opportunity.”
Jude, 58, a mother and grandmother from Papamoa, is now lead Family Harm Facilitator for Police at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC).
In her work, she has been able to draw on her personal experience as a victim of abuse to help educate recruits before they are dispersed to districts.
Jude Simpson in the RNZPC crime house, leading recruit training.
She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the prevention of domestic violence in June 2018.
She has also been a family violence prevention advocate for the Ministry of Social Development’s ‘It’s not OK’ campaign and she was the lead facilitator and educator of the ‘How to Help’ workshops.
She has also written a book - Lost and Found: A Woman's Living Proof - which talks about how she has got to where she is today.
Jude has spent years providing expert advice to senior Police management. Since 2014, she has worked full-time for Police as the lead family harm facilitator at the RNZPC, having held the role part-time for about eight years.
In this role, she has been responsible for the design and delivery of family harm and prevention training to Police recruits.
“Jude’s work with our recruits during initial training has a profound impact on them,” says Inspector Dean Clifford, General Manager Training.
“Her story, her commentary and her role-play evokes a call to action for students when dealing with whānau experiencing harm and anchors their learnings across a range of subjects.”
Jude says her message for the recruits is to have them understand what happens around family violence.
“It's about taking them through a story of family violence to help educate, raise awareness and develop empathy,” she says.
"I just want our recruits to keep their hearts soft and understand why some people are how they are because of their life.”
Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price helped recruit Jude into her role in his previous position as National Manager of Training and Development at the RNZPC.
“After conducting a training needs analysis it was clear the curriculum and delivery model for recruit training needed to reflect operational policing,” he says. “Therefore, the programme needed a strong focus on family violence and it needed a champion.
“Jude was our champion."
Jude talks about her story in this video...
HOW TO GET HELP
Red flags / high risk factors to be aware of, include:
- Coercive and controlling behaviour
- Suicide/homicide threats
- Child abuse
- Sexual assault
- Worsening violence – more severe, more frequent
- Intense jealousy or possessiveness
- Use of weapons
- Animal/pet abuse
- Alcohol/drug/mental health issues
- Community issues/isolation
- Pregnancy/new birth
- Victim voicing fear of harm
If you suspect someone close to you is a victim of family violence or feel something is not right, it’s okay to act on it – you could save a life. Call 111 or visit www.police.govt.nz/family-violence-help