The White Ribbon Shield

White Ribbon Shield

White Ribbon Shield

The White Ribbon Shield is a football tournament organised by the Ashburton White Ribbon Committee in conjunction with Mid Canterbury Football.

The tournament will feature teams from the Mid Canterbury United FC (MCUFC) and Methven FC. There will be seven games from under 10s through to seniors, including one women’s game. The corresponding age grade teams from each club will play against each other with the winner getting 3 points.  At the end of the day all the points are tallied and the club with the most points wins the White Ribbon Shield.

Field 3 (To the Left of the main field)
Game 1
10:00 – 11:30am MCUFC15s boys vs. MCUFC16s Boys (This will just be an exhibition match as Methven FC don’t have teams in these age groups)

Game 2
11:45 – 1:15 MCUFC 1s girls vs. Methven FC Div. 2 women

Field 1 (Main field)
Game 1
10:00 – 11:45 MCUFC 18s boys vs. Methven FC 18s boys

Game 2
12:00 – 1:45 MCUFC senior men vs. Methven FC senior me

Field 2 (To the right of the main field)
10:00 – 11:30 MCUFC 14s boys vs. Methven FC 14s boys

Small Field 1
10:00 – 10:55 MCUFC 12s boys vs. Methven FC 12 s boys

Small Field 2
10:00 – 10:55 MCUFC 10s boys vs. Methven FC 10s boys

There will be free sausages and giveaways during the day and White Ribbon and Family Violence resources available.
For further information contact Evans Chibanguza or Anna Arrowsmith on 027 296 0001 or family.violence@saferashburton.org.nz

Training for the 2015 Campaign

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mockup of this year’s posters

This year the Campaign Team will be training our Ambassadors, White Ribbon Riders and community spokespeople.

The two hour training session will include:

  • An overview of family violence
  • White Ribbon’s focus on ending men’s violence towards women
  • The 2015 Campaign focusing on ‘Respectful Relationships’
  • Media and campaign strategies

Training dates will be announced shortly and will take place at multiple venues in both the South Island and North Island.
It is hoped that the sessions will take place in Dunedin, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, Palmerston North, Hastings, Gisborne and Auckland. Other centres could be added if there is sufficient demand. Please contact us to discuss.

Please fill out your details if you are interested in attending a training session

A volunteer’s story

Rebecca Ashcroft

Rebecca Ashcroft

Working as a volunteer for the White Ribbon campaign was an incredible learning curve and an enriching experience that I would highly recommend.

From the very beginning I felt I was helping to make a positive change, meeting a diverse range of people and learning more about the practical aspects of a non-for-profit organisation.

I worked both behind the scenes and on site at various White Ribbon events during White Ribbon months, giving me an appreciation of the campaigns audience and reach. As part of a team collectively working towards a positive, non-violent New Zealand, I learned an incredible amount, gained invaluable experience, and had the satisfaction of knowing I was making a difference.

I am currently participating in a University Exchange with the University of Edinburgh. My work experience with White Ribbon, and the reference that followed, enhanced my application and greatly helped with my acceptance in the program.

The volunteer internship is a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience and also to help in the community, and something I would highly recommend to all. Rebecca Ashcroft – White Ribbon Volunteer 2013-2015

For more information in volunteering click here

Strengthening New Zealand’s Legislative Response to Family Violence

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Download the discussion document

The Ministry of Justice is consulting about New Zealand’s family violence laws. The domestic violence act was introduced in 1995 (reviewed in 2007) and the discussion document is an opportunity to review the current laws and approach and have your say. The Ministry want to know your views about the ideas presented in the discussion document along with any other ideas you have for strengthening New Zealand’s family violence laws.

Here are some views of Judge Peter Boshier, Chair of the White Ribbon Campaign

Part One

  1. Is there scope for broadening the definition of family violence and including guiding principles?

The definition is generally sound but certainly could be broadened. What will help is the setting down of guiding principles, and sense of expectation and consequence. This has worked well overseas. It has also been the hallmark of the success of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act where guiding principles have heavily influenced judicial decision making. I think too that having a greater emphasis on accountability and consequence will assist judiciary, Police and health professionals in approaching this issue and exercising judgment. A good, modern example of requiring accountability is to be seen in the recently passed Vulnerable Children Act 2004.

  1. Victim safety: Are there better ways of applying for orders and for our responses to breaches?

I would like to see a completely new approach to how orders can be applied for. I would like these to be “online” and for applicants to be able to choose options in a similar way to how Survey Monkeys have been created. There can be simple fields for supporting information. All-important accompanying certificates such as medical and police family violence reports can be scanned and attached. I do not see conventional sworn affidavits as being necessary and think that the information should be able to be verified as to truth and consequence by the applicant and a scanned signature attached.

There is good scope for having a wider range of applicants acting for someone else.

I think our responses to breaches have been too weak and that there should be a default position as to consequence. When a disqualified driver is apprehended by Police, little discretion is exercised – they will invariably be prosecuted and the court has little discretion because of the default expectations created. Similar clear expectations should apply to breaches.

There is good scope when property orders are made, for better dealing with consequence as to whether it is wise for the victim to continue living in the same house as the perpetrator or whether he should be required to live elsewhere in supported accommodation.

The safety of victims and children caught up in family violence will be greatly enhanced if there is a mandatory expectation of risk assessment, so that the true nature of the risk being faced is known. At the moment, it is not. The Police ODARA risk assessment tool is known to have limitations. However we have good risk assessment tools in operation overseas. One of the single most important outcomes of this discussion paper may be legislative backing for risk assessment and accordingly triage to gauge future response.

  1. Prosecuting family violence perpetrators

The paper asks whether we should “create a standalone family violence offence or a class of offences” and on page 33 of the paper, three examples are given. New Zealand is now behind other countries in this respect because family violence is not recognised at all other than through the obscure label of “male assaults female”. The Minister’s reference to the Law Commission as to whether or not there should be a standalone offence of non-fatal strangulation is an example of what such a standalone offence might look like. There is merit of having a clear label attached to family violence offending and of that being available to any police officer or judge who sees a criminal conviction record. Many countries have chosen to keep generic violence offences but add in as an aggravating factor, whether or not it has occurred in context of family violence. This particular approach is also very attractive.

The paper also asks what changes there might be to court processes and structure to enable criminal courts to respond better to family violence cases.

Our domestic violence courts have been well intentioned but have met with limited success. The clear guiding principles I suggested earlier will help, and these could include mandatory timelines for disposition of cases and default expectations as to consequence. At the moment procedure is too driven by conventional criminal procedure process and allowing judges to be much more directive in how cases are handled may encourage victims to seek access to the criminal justice process but at the same time maintain the appropriate balance of natural justice for perpetrators. Judges should be able to hear family violence cases quickly and on terms that they direct, rather than an open ended ill-defined basis.

  1. Should there be an additional pathway to safety?

This section of the paper asks whether victims should be able to access services short of having to go to court. Since the Family Court began in 1981, there has been an ability of those in conflict to seek help through the court short of applying for orders. A self-referral where there is escalating conflict and the beginning of domestic violence, may well save a life later. A victim should also be able to ask that another person attend for an assessment or a discussion or both where family violence is occurring or the victim fears it is about to.

A very helpful and insightful suggestion is that Police take at least one of the following steps when responding to family violence reports, that they file a criminal charge (or issue a warning), issue a Police safety order, or make a referral to a funded service or services or an assessment?

What better services for victims, perpetrators and whanau should there be?

On page 45 of the paper suggestions for enhancement of sharing of information between agencies and between courts is set out. Good decisions can only be made on full information. This is exactly the basis upon which medical professionals work – they rarely operate or suggest medical procedure without knowing all the facts. We need to do the same when it comes to outcomes of family violence. We may be dealing with lethality and not even know it. Clear expectations as to sharing of information will help and a good clinically based risk assessment for judges may be instrumental in better decision making over bail and sentencing. There is scope for overall relaxation of privacy so that all possible relevant information is permitted to be shared while always retaining the right of anyone affected by decision making to challenge the basis of doing so.

One of the justifications for this approach is because we are not just dealing with adults and their rights but children who have equal rights but cannot express or claim them. The state must be protective and principles of privacy may be required to adjust accordingly.

  • Read our press release here
  • Have your say here
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s legislative response to family violence discussion document here

Better family violence law – Welcome from Justice Minister Amy Adams

Rodger Barlow – White Ribbon Ambassador

Rodger Barlow

Rodger Barlow

I was bought up in what is now a very desirable area of the North Shore of Auckland. To me, Devonport and its immediate environs was just a reasonably large playground. Swimming at Narrow Neck or Cheltenham beach, if not in the tidal estuary at the bottom of our section, sailing my small yacht on the harbour, and playing endless games of cricket are my summer memories. Winter was soccer and rugby, both played with enthusiasm and a complete lack of skill on my part. Most people should be able to have memories such as these, but I now know that not all are able to do so.

My father had a small business in Devonport, so when I left school I started an apprenticeship with him. It was around this time that I became aware that not all of my friends and acquaintances had the same safe upbringing as I had. Many times during my school years I had wondered about the bruises and accidents that some of my friends had. When I started work, my circle of friends expanded and I met people with different views of life and experiences that I had never imagined would exist. Mostly they were people who had what is now known as a dysfunctional family. Much of the problem was caused by alcohol, and I am sure that many of the fathers were suffering from stresses and depressions left over from WWII. Of course, at this period of time, these were not recognised as an identifiable and possibly treatable illness. However, abuse, usually physical, was a fact of life for some of these people, and they mostly succeeded in keeping it secret, but there was the occasional comment or slip of the tongue that made me aware of the situation. Did I do anything about it? No. Why not? Well, it really wasn’t my problem was it? I did mention it to my parents at one stage and was told by them that,” yes these things did happen but not in our family”. The classic “if we ignore it, it will go away” process. I believe that many people were and maybe still are using this approach. Preferring to ignore the issue rather than do anything about it.

However, life continues, and I got married and then applied for Secondary Teacher Training. At that time there was a major shortage of Technical Teachers and I won a position in one of the intakes. This was the era of one year full-time specialist teacher training programmes, so at the end of the swinging sixties there I was, standing in front of my first class of around 30 boys. Talk about a steep learning curve. I stumbled from one crisis to another for the first six months and seriously doubted my ability to carry on in the profession. The school I taught at was in the centre of a low social economic area and gangs were a fact of life for many of the students. Training college had not prepared me for these people, and neither had my previous life experiences. A senior teacher at the school, now sadly passed, must have seen something in me and took it upon himself to mentor me. Not only was I mentored by this man, but I was introduced to a way of working with the disadvantaged youth of the area. I can remember working with one of the local Maori wardens and visiting houses in the early hours of the morning looking for children who had, for various reasons, not gone home after school. The process would not work today with the current laws, but it was reasonably successful for us. It was during this period of time that I developed my social justice ideals.

Next period of my life was the 18 years I spent working for a tertiary training centre in Hamilton. I started the section that I worked in, built it up to the second largest of its kind in NZ and looked after two full-time staff. The students we had were a diverse bunch of adolescents. Some were great and some weren’t. These were male students between 16 and 21 years of age, full of testosterone and bullet proof. For many of them, violence and alcohol was a fact of life, it was used to solve personal problems, it was used on and off the football field, and a couple of times, was used in the classroom to solve some imagined or real slight. More than once, I went to the local police station on a Friday morning to check on the well-being of my students. On the other hand, when one of my students was arrested for selling drugs, I found myself on the prosecution team. We won, he lost.

Then, at the beginning of 1990, I changed jobs and went back to teaching in a state school. Life was much quieter there until September 1993, when a young female living not far from the school was murdered, along with her two young children. This was a particularly gruesome murder as all the victims had their throats cut and the perpetrator was the young girl’s partner. At the subsequent trial he was deemed to be insane by the jury and was found not guilty as a result. What made this more horrifying was the fact that the girl was a friend of my daughter, and she had been a guest at our home on several occasions. It was because of this incident that I became a member of Victim Support in Hamilton, and I worked with them for a period of time. During my time with Victim Support I spent a great deal of my time with victims of violence of one form or another, much of it perpetrated by males against females. I was uncomfortable at times in this role – here I am, a male, trying to get the confidence of a female who has been assaulted by a male, often her partner and the father of her children. There were times when I did not do too well, and I felt that I had let people down, but maybe what I did was helpful to them in the big picture. There were also other occasions when people had lost children in motor vehicle accidents and I found these cases difficult for me, for a number of reasons.

Eventually, I won a position in a central King Country school, and moved down there to teach. I did not continue with my Victim Support work whilst I was there, but I did get an inkling of what some people have been unfortunate enough to go through when I had an altercation with one of the male students. He threatened to kill me and, for some reason, the Deputy Principal – a threat that I did not take seriously at the time. I thought that it was just an adolescent young man blowing off steam. However the incident was reported to the Police, and the boy was arrested that night, some one hundred metres from my home. When arrested he was carrying a boning knife and a steel bar. He spent time in the cells and appeared in court where he was sentenced and released into the care of a Youth initiative that specialised in cases like his. Apart from seeing him at the requisite family conference, where he tried to attack me with a chair, I have not seen him since the day at school, but I understand that he is back in the community, now working.

Underlying all of these events has been the aggression that some males are not able to control or direct. I believe that much of what I have witnessed, or been privy to, is evidence of learned behaviour or ingrained behaviour, in that often the perpetrators have witnessed violence being used to solve issues, and they do not understand any other methods. This unfortunately is a method used by a minority of students in school, a problem that teachers are only too aware of. These students are the by-product of the environment they grow up in, and I believe, therein lies the problem.

I now work part-time in a Secondary School in the Counties/Manukau area, I am the Post Primary Teachers Association’s Executive Member for the region, working voluntarily for the teachers of my area and I find life far less stressful than I have in the past.

I believe that White Ribbon has a role to play in reducing the number of incidences such as those I have outlined. We are not experts, but we have knowledge and collectively there is a vast amount of experience that can be channeled. Here is an opportunity for us to take the initiative, be role models, talk about our own experiences, and stand up against this inappropriate behaviour. Men talking to men about their experiences, good and bad, can help. Just having a person who is not judgmental to talk to and unload to may be the catalyst needed to help a man who has an anger management problem, or does not know any other way of solving problems. White Ribbon can assist in this cause.

White Ribbon Ride Leader is now an Ambassador

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South Island White Ribbon Rider leader Colin Agnew

Colin Agnew was the Vice President of the South Island Chapter of the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club, and is now the leader of this year’s South Island leg of the White Ribbon Ride.

Mr Agnew has been involved with the White Ribbon Ride since it first began in 2008 and is very pleased to become an ambassador – though he may look tough, he has a soft heart.

“The ride means a lot to me, and the stories I’ve heard have only increased my determination to keep coming back each year.”

One memorable ride was 2011 when a woman in Gore recognised his motorbike and approached him with her three children. The woman had talked to him at a White Ribbon Ride a few years before, and told them it gave her the confidence to pack up and leave her violent household. She said she was now living in Gore, safe and happy with her children.

“It’s a sign to me that I need to keep doing this as long as it takes.”

It’s these kinds of stories, both from those closest to Agnew and complete strangers which encourage him to continue to want to help those suffering from family violence.

“I don’t think anyone has the right to abuse someone, and that sharing their stories helps not just the person in that situation but encourages others to speak out too.”

The White Ribbon Ride will be visiting towns throughout the South Island this year, and will need help from organisations to host them.

Riders can join in the Ride at any location and can participate for the day, or the week and take part in the events that are held by each town.

This year we will also be encouraging scooters and bikes under 250cc’s to join in when the event is within the city limits.

The ride spreads the White Ribbon anti-violence message, by going directly into communities where violence can often be pervasive.

It proves to men you can still be tough without having to condone abuse, and allows women to see that not all men are violent.

The Ride will launch from Nelson on the 17th November, and travel down the West Coast reaching Haast on 19th and traveling through Wanaka on 20th. By the 22nd the rides reaches Invercargill before beginning the ride north through Dunedin and onto Christchurch for White Ribbon day on 25 November and ending in Blenheim on 26th.

South Island White Ribbon Ride

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Peter McLaren takes up new role as a White Ribbon Ambassador

Peter-McLaren

Peter McLaren

Peter McLaren, founder of McLaren Associates, is the latest to join the ranks of White Ribbon Ambassadors, who want to see men stand up and say No to violence against women.

Mr McLaren recently retired as Managing Director of McLaren Associates in Wellington after 26 years, and has decided to take on new roles, saying he was very pleased to be approached by White Ribbon to become an Ambassador.

The announcement came on his 70th birthday celebration among friends and family, including his long-time friend Judge Peter Boshier, Chair of White Ribbon, who made the announcement.

“I’m very proud to be a part of White Ribbon” he said.

Family is his number one priority in life which he notes as “first and foremost” in his life. Though he believes he grew up rather sheltered from violence in his modest upbringing in a safe and loving environment, he wishes to make those around him more aware of the nature of violence toward women and how much goes unsaid.

“It’s something I detest. Violence, I just can’t stand.”

McLaren has had lots of involvement with Wellington and other community initiatives in the past, having been Chairperson for the Wellington After Care Association, on the board of Rotary Wellington and SPCA Wellington and Committee Member of Variety Club, along with numerous other roles.

His involvement in White Ribbon is a new direction as he begins afresh to take some time and decide what he will do next. He says he will proudly wear the White Ribbon to demonstrate his zero tolerance of violence against women.

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