White Ribbon Campaign well-supported

Whangarei police attend around 60 call-outs a week due to domestic violence in the area and that number is expected to rise around Christmas time.

NZ Police Whangarei area Crime Prevention Team constable Sara Treend was part of a strong turnout of supporters at today’s White Ribbon campaign at Whangarei Hospital.

“Weekends are our busiest time and, believe it or not, Sundays, but we expect it to increase over Christmas.”

Constable Treend joined the Northland DHB Violence Interventional Programme (VIP) team, who were hosting the public awareness stand. Joining them were representatives from various organisations who dropped by throughout the day, offering support and information from their services and handed out white ribbons.

Among the group were White Ribbon ambassadors John and Kate McGrath. John became a White Ribbon Ambassador in July after his sister, Patricia McGrath (Wowo), was killed in a highly-public case of domestic violence last year.

Mr McGrath says, two years ago, he and his wife saw domestic violence in the news and thought it wasn’t right, but never in a million years thought it would affect their family.

“After what happened to my little sister, it just turned our world upside-down. It is so deep now - the people who are the victims have to live with it every day.”

He says it was a message from his sister on the day of her funeral that has driven him to support the campaign.

“Every time I’ll be talking to her, asking her things, and sometimes I’ve thought I can’t do this and then I’ll think back to the day of the funeral when she sent us a message and that was a sign. She was never one to take something like this quietly - she would have kicked up a fuss.”

rs McGrath adds they are also driven by their daughters, nieces and sisters. “It just shouldn’t happen at the end of the day.

“Even though she (Wowo) had her family looking out for her, the person she was in a relationship with came from a different background.”

Constable Treend says domestic violence affects all walks of life from all areas of town.

“It could be the elderly mother and son, parents of teenagers, extended family at Christmas, not used to staying together and then there are the partners and people who live with it every day.”

However, she says there is a lot of support in place these days, including refuges, budgeting advice, violence and parenting programmes.

Says Northland DHB Family Violence Intervention co-ordinator Karen Towns: “Every year the Violence Intervention Programme team supports White Ribbon Awareness for the month of November, leading up to White Ribbon Day on November 25. The wearing of a white ribbon is a sign you support ending violence towards women.”

Where to go for Help

  • Barnardos, Whangarei:  09 438 2954
  • Whangarei Women’s Refuge’s 0800 refuge: (733843)
  • Bream Bay Community Support Trust: 09 432 7197
  • Man Alive: 021 442024
  • Child Youth & Family:  0508 326 459
  • Ngati Hine Health Trust – Family Centred Direct Services: 0800 whanau (942628) 
  • Family Works: 09 437 6729
  • Jigsaw North: 09 438 8852
  • Miriam Centre: 09 437 6010
  • The Pulse: 09 438 0004
  • It is OK to ask for help: 0800 456 450

(Left to right): NZ Police Family Violence Intervention co-ordinator Selina Gordon, Work and Income’s Nikki Matthews, Corrections Family Violence team member Jess Cole, Rowena Paikea, White Ribbon Ambassador Phil Paikea, Northland DHB Family Violence Intervention co-ordinator Karen Towns, John McGrath with daughter Lola, VIP’s Vickie Rotzel and Julie Hall, Kate McGrath with daughter Isi, VIP’s Paula Anderson and constable Sara Treend.

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