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Recommendations to stop family violence

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/11/2016

As part of White Ribbon Day, recommendations have been made to try and reduce family violence statistics in New Zealand.

A paper published on Friday by the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse is calling for specialist services for victims, a specific response system for violent incidents and better rehabilitation programmes for the offenders.

The paper's author Professor Devon Polaschek, from Victoria University of Wellington's School of Psychology, said firstly victims of family violence needed specialist services and support to enable their safety and recovery.

Prof Polaschek also recommends a response system that's specific for this type of family violence, which includes intimate partner violence, and abuse of any family or whanau member.

Another recommendation she made was changing the rehabilitation programme of offenders.

"Behaviour change programmes were too short to change the behaviour of a lifetime, and funding for people self-referring to programmes was limited," she says.

"These efforts work to change norms that enable violence, including questioning gender roles, especially what it is to be a man, a partner, and a father in New Zealand."

White Ribbon Day aims to end family violence against women, but charitable trust Child Matters says intimate partner violence and child abuse is inextricably linked, and one in four adults has experienced childhood trauma or abuse, family violence or sexual assault.

"In 70 per cent of intimate partner violence cases, the children are also being abused. Even if children are not physically abused, their exposure to violence, and violence occurring in their home, can cause serious harm," says Jane Searle, Child Matters general manager relationships and operations.

* The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse is the national centre for family and whanau violence research and information.

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