Violence awareness day tomorrow

By Parentline, 21 June 2011

CEO Cathy Holland’s column in the Hamilton Press 24th Novemer 2010

This Thursday 25 November is White Ribbon Day to mark the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 1991, a group of Canadian men began a campaign to urge men to speak out against violence against women. The group adopted the wearing of a white ribbon as a personal pledge. That first effort achieved the distribution of 100,000 white ribbons to other men across Canada and promoted widespread community discussion about domestic / family violence.

White Ribbon Day is the largest effort by men across the world to end men’s violence against women.

Here in Hamilton domestic violence is on the rise and our ability to curb the rapid increase is still open to debate. In March this year, figures show the number of New Zealanders that died at the hands of a family member doubled in 2009. Figures released by the Family Violence Death Review Committee show 41 people lost their lives to domestic violence last year, compared to the 19 deaths reported to police in 2008.

One of the biggest costs of family violence is the impact it has on the children who witness it; the impact is profound. These are children who come to Parentline exhibiting  signs of shock, confusion, poor self esteem, low academic achievement; they are distrusting of others, fearful; they often have to deal with the turmoil of separation as one parent is forced to leave the family home; they are children who present with psychosomatic distress.  Even more poignant is that in the future years, these same children can be abusive in their own relationships.

We know that children are the “invisible victims” of family violence and high levels of violence against them is generally under-reported.  Of the 41 deaths reported in 2009, sixteen were children. In the same year, 70% of child abuse cases were also family violence-related;   74,785 children and young people aged under-17 were present at family violence situations.

To mark the day in Hamilton, Parentline is hosting a White Ribbon Day breakfast, supported by SKY CITY and More FM.  Mayor Julie Hardaker is our guest speaker.  The breakfast is at SKY CITY commencing at 7.30am. Tickets are $20pp and can be purchased from Grant Cowie at Parentline, 07 839-4536 or by contacting The White Ribbon Day breakfast is an annual Parentline event.