Council should review strategy to cut violence

By Parentline, 21 June 2011

CEO Cathy Holland’s column in the Hamilton Press 29th September 2010

On 9 October voting for the Hamilton City Mayor and Council will close and within days we will have a new governance structure for the City. Early reports indicate that with 10 days to go, there is already a 40% turnout; in excess of the 35% voters at the last 2007 local authority elections.

Parentline’s core business is to work with children who have been traumatised by abuse and domestic violence. Before casting my vote, I will be evaluating the performance and contribution that Council (Mayor and Councillors) has made to eliminating domestic violence in our homes and communities across the city.

In 2007, council developed the Social Well-being Strategy, designed to ‘positively change the city that we live in and make a real difference for real people’. The strategy is based on strong and committed city leadership, tangible on- the- ground results and flag ship projects.

One of the projects is the CAMPAIGN FOR ACTION ON FAMILY VIOLENCE; to ensure our homes, our neighbourhoods and our city are safe places, our children are free from abuse and neglect, the right support is there to prevent family violence and help people overcome destructive behaviours.

The Council’s response was to support an expensive social marketing campaign alongside the national It’s Not OK campaign using local and community leadership to raise awareness in our communities.

In the past, New Zealand’ response to domestic violence has been to commit huge public resources through public education campaigns such as ‘It’s Not OK’.  But the violence continues, it gets even worse and ever younger children are presenting at Parentline with violent, out of control, aggressive behaviours because of the violence they see in their own homes.   And it is very much a local issue, with Hamilton’s high increases in family violence statistics – more than one thousand more police call-outs than the previous year and up to half of them being repeat incidents. (Parentline’s Annual Report 2009 – 2010).

For my part, I want the new council to review the Social Well–being Strategy, particularly as it relates to the elimination of domestic violence.  I will be ticking the names of those candidates who I believe, will make a ‘real difference for real people’ and who are genuinely committed to making Hamilton a safer place.