INDEPENDENT NEWS

Police Victims Shining A Light On Violence - TRIGGER WARNING

Published: Thu 25 Nov 2021 09:09 AM
Five police officers have taken a unique stand to publicly share their own
experiences of being victims of violence on White Ribbon Day.
Today (25 November) is the international day against violence towards women.
The day acknowledges men who promote healthy, respectful relationships and
consent.
White Ribbon Ambassador and Commissioner of Police Andrew Coster says some of
our police staff are doing more than wearing a white ribbon today.
“Five of our people have chosen to share publicly their own deeply personal
experiences as victims of violence. Like everyone who does this, it’s an
incredibly brave move.
"Another group of police staff from Eastern District have come forward
anonymously to shine a light also, and I commend both groups for their very
public declarations,” Commissioner Coster says.
“Police officers are not immune from these types of experiences. We are
part of the wider community and unfortunately that means some of our people
will be victims of violence.
“But hopefully by sharing their experiences, they will make it easier for
victims of similar violence to come forward and seek help.”
In New Zealand, most violence by men against women takes place in the home
– with an average of 14 women a year killed by their partners or
ex-partners.
Each year there are more than 3,500 convictions recorded against men for
assaults on women and one in five women will experience sexual assault or
sexual interference at some point in their lives.
*Genevieve, a Senior Sergeant talks about a violent boyfriend and how he
forced her to have an abortion. *Charlotte, a Sergeant, describes how she was
strangled and had her arm shattered by her abuser before leaving the
relationship and pressing charges. Transgender Constable, Gwydion, describes
how he was raped by a friend.
Forensic Officer *Felicity recalls a life like the movie Once were Warriors
and how she received beatings from her abuser and one day thought she would
die.
Detective Jaimie Leigh spent time in Cholmondeley Respite Care Home for
children when her parents separated, and she endured psychological harm from
an angry and abusive father. At that time, Jaimie didn’t know her dad had
suffered historical sexual abuse as a pupil at boarding school when he was a
boy.
All these staff have been the victims of gender-based violence and share
their experiences and journey out of their violent relationships to a better
life and how their lives changed after joining Police. You can read their
stories, in their words, here [1].
Eastern Police District has empowered some of their staff to come forward and
share their childhood experiences of growing up in violent homes. Their
voices have been altered to protect them and their families’ identities, as
they wish to share their experiences anonymously. You can listen to their
stories, here [2].
“Family violence is one of our country’s biggest problems. The Joint
Venture to Eliminate Family Violence Sexual Violence, of which Police are a
part, signals our intent to eliminate this problem in Aotearoa New
Zealand,” Commissioner Coster says.
This work includes Police hosting integrated safety response (ISR) teams in
Canterbury and Waikato. They take a whole-of-whānau approach that
prioritises the needs of the whānau. The teams have dedicated staff, access
to specialist services and an intensive case management approach to
collectively working with high-risk families.
In other parts of the country, Police partner with iwi and community
organisations within Whāngaia Ngā Pā Harakeke (WNPH), a concept
underpinned by collaboration and taking collective responsibility for the
community.
A common feature of this work is providing dedicated Police constabulary
staff who work with kaiāwhina/kaipupuri (social workers/advocates) and
partner agencies to support families and whānau at risk of harm, putting
their voice at the centre of everything.
“Both these initiatives have had a significant impact on reducing harm and
we can be proud of the work to date, while acknowledging there is still more
to do,” says Commissioner Coster.
In the 2021 campaign, White Ribbon aims to link together resources and
information to help show the diversity of the issues at stake and to offer
ways to effect change. White Ribbon Organisation is already promoting
healthy ideals within their Respectful Relationships framework [3].
[1] https://www.police.govt.nz/news/ten-one-magazine/police-victims-shine-light-violence
[2] https://player.vimeo.com/external/648797954.hd.mp4?s=1318e2789a25225328216bc9513159344368e8e8&profile_id=174&download=1
[3] https://whiteribbon.org.nz/

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