Family Violence requires a collaborative approach


White Ribbon Chair Judge Peter Boshier

Press Release

20 February 2015


Family Violence requires a collaborative approach

White Ribbon Chair, Judge Peter Boshier, has applauded the decision of the New Zealand Police to engage further with experts.

“Working collaboratively is at the heart of how White Ribbon operates,” says Judge Boshier. “By tapping into experts who sit outside your organisation, you can significantly enhance your knowledge and understanding of an issue, and as an added bonus receive free and frank advice.

“Our own experience is that we have a committee made up of experts and agencies who volunteer their time to provide advice to the White Ribbon Campaign. That keeps us focused and in touch with the issues of communities.

“White Ribbon believes New Zealand needs considerable attitudinal change, and that must take place with our men.

“It is a sad but undeniable truth that the most serious and damaging violence is perpetrated by men against women, and that all men must take responsibility for changing this.

“The days of saying ‘it’s not my problem’ are over. As men, we must take responsibility for changing the attitudes and behaviour of other men. There is no other choice if we are ever to significantly reduce the appalling family violence statistics in this country.

“We can be justifiably proud of how well New Zealand achieves in any numbers of arenas, but there can be no room for pride when the police indicate that there were 94,300 family violence incidents reported last year. The statistics are horrific and we must do more.

“It is a sad indictment that family violence may well be the single greatest social issue we have to address in this country,” said Judge Boshier.

Associated media: Radio NZ report

  • One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives
  • Less than 20 per cent of abuse cases are reported
  • Over 3,500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women
  • On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners
  • Police attend a family violence incident every 5 ½ minutes
  • Family violence accounts for half of all reported serious crime
  • In 2013 Police recorded 95,101 family violence investigations (provisionally 94,300 in 2014)
  • Violence towards women is unacceptable
  • Violence is not just physical
  • Men are part of the solution
  • You can help fix this problem by taking The Pledge
  • 2015 will see White Ribbon launch a new November campaign
For all media enquiries contact:
Rob McCann
White Ribbon Campaign Manager
04 297 2757 | Mobile 021 212 2953

“White Ribbon Day – A Judges business”


Judge Peter Boshier – White Ribbon Chair

Judges get to see a lot of domestic violence. We know that one in three women will experience partner violence some point in their lives and on average 14 women are killed every year in New Zealand by their current or former partners. There are over 3500 convictions recorded against men for assaults on women each year.

From time to time, I sit as a duty judge and we have moved into the new world of doing most of our emergency applications electronically and based on a national overview of incoming applications and judge availability throughout the whole country. The last time I did this was Friday 15 November. The violence we see is invariably by men against women and it takes all forms from bad beatings, regular assaults and often to an inability to let go of a relationship and to constant texting, abuse and breaking into their partners houses.

I have moved from the role of Principal Family Court Judge to other roles and that has allowed me a little space to do some other things. I decided I would accept the invitation to be chair of the White Ribbon Committee because White Ribbon carries a clear message that men must take responsibility for their violence to women and must change attitudes and behaviour. From what I see the message is spot on.

We have seen quite graphically in the last few weeks that bad male attitudes can start quite young. Probably by the time the much publicised roastbusters had decided to go public with their deplorable behaviour, they had learned and practised their exploitative behaviour towards females for some time.

Sadly, the attitudes and behaviour I see are widespread and certainly not limited to a particular age-group. Teenagers such as the roastbusters have inevitably learned their behaviour and the question is from whom and what responsibility do we all have to bring about change?

We launched this years White Ribbon Campaign on Monday 11 November. In the course of that I met Mark Longley and spoke to him at length about the murder of his daughter Emily in London by Elliot Turner. Turner had not only boasted to his mates that he was going to kill Emily but went further and showed them how he was going to do it. He did of course. If only one of them had spoken out!

But he is not alone in his grief. In the past year I have spoken to some of your colleagues who as parents of adult children have found that either their children or those of their friends have inexplicably become entangled in a violent relationship with a man. For any parent who has undergone this experience, the feeling of helplessness and the wish to be protective must be immense and deeply moving.

Ever since the Domestic Violence Act 1995 came into force we have had the ability to direct perpetrators of violence to programmes in order to change behaviour. But it is so very difficult to do so once the die is cast and one bad attitudes are entrenched. Furthermore, it is very costly and dubious in terms of the cost effectiveness.

The White Ribbons Campaign prime message is aimed at change at the beginning not at the end. We have seen New Zealand make quantum shifts in its thinking on a number of issues such as smoking, the compulsory wearing of seatbelts and crash helmets and more recently drink drive and speed. All of these were once much lauded macho pursuits. But they are no longer.

I think if we can begin to talk about why we have the attitudes that we do that leads to so much domestic violence and what influences we can bring to bear to change, we will achieve a fundamental shift in New Zealand thinking and behaviour. For me as a judge I will begin to see more functional families and better achieving children.

I think that bringing about attitude and behaviour change can operate at all sorts of levels. We have had the “It’s not okay” campaign which has had a very good measure of success in the public arena but we can also do it at our workplace and, by keeping a careful look out for men workers who are separating or in personal relationship difficulty, we may be able to see the early signs of domestic violence brewing.

From the position that I am now in, I see it as important to promote a leadership role by all of us for that is how we truly shift public opinion. It is by speaking out and by being clear in what we find acceptable and unacceptable.

To give real teeth to this, we have this year introduced a pledge which has been widely taken by men throughout New Zealand and it reads:

“I promise never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women”

If we can raise our consciousness about this issue and raise the bar, I am confident that we will start to see a lessening of the huge family violence workload that comes into our courts each day.

[Speech notes for Rotary Club of Wellington Monday 25 November 2013]


Judge Boshier speaks to Rotary in Wellington on White Ribbon Day

Appointing White Ribbon Ambassadors

Peter Boshier - Chief Family Court Judge copy

Judge Peter Boshier
White Ribbon Committee Chair

In light of the allegations against Sir Owen Glenn and his potential role as a White Ribbon Ambassador in the White Ribbon Campaign, it is in the best interests of the community to know what steps are taken when appointing ambassadors.

Ambassadors embody the principles of the campaign. They are chosen by the White Ribbon Committee for their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men, and to convey key messages directly to their own communities.

To ensure the integrity of the campaign, a strict nomination process takes place which includes interviews, a New Zealand Police Check and a wider community check. Nomination forms can be downloaded here.

sir owen glenn

Sir Owen Glenn

Nominees must also sign a statement that they are living violence-free lives, and will uphold the White Ribbon pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women. All men are asked to disclose any previous convictions for violent or abusive behaviour.

Sir Owen’s representatives have informed me in my role as chair of the White Ribbon Committee, that Sir Owen did not include this new information in his nomination as a White Ribbon Ambassador because Sir Owen stands by his declarations that he was and is violence free.

The White Ribbon Committee will consider this information, as we would all other ambassadors.

White Ribbon is an international campaign to end men’s violence towards women. We will continue to support the White Ribbon Ambassador project utilising men to speak and influence other men.

We will continue to embrace men who have always been violence free, and those men who have rejected the use of violence knowing that they have a vital role to play in effecting change.

Judge Peter Boshier

White Ribbon Committee Chair

click here for the Sunday Star Times Article

Statement from Sir Owen Glenn

The Glenn Inquiry

click here for the Glenn Inquiry

“It saddens me that yet again it appears the New Zealand media is delving into my personal life to fill their pages while New Zealand is ranked the third highest country in the world for rape and this issue goes virtually unreported. Within the past 12 months I have signed two declarations, which I stand by, that state that I am living violence-free and that I have no history of violence towards women or children. These declarations are accurate in all respects. There was no truth to the allegation from almost 11 years ago. My regret now is that I didn’t take the matter to court, however after two years of dispute in the American court system and at the strong advice of my American lawyer I resolved the case in Hawaii to avoid further horrendous court costs and to bring the matter to an end on an agreed basis which resulted in an order of dismissal in October 2004. My motivation behind the Glenn Inquiry is our appalling statistics particularly that we have the fifth worst child abuse rates in the OECD. What a shame media don’t put this time and energy into encouraging the public to adopt zero tolerance towards this behaviour in our country.”