Welcome to Stopping Violence Dunedin.







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Thanks to our generous sponsors

Stopping Violence Dunedin would like to take the time to acknowledge Otago community trust for its ongoing and generous support in helping fund our programmes and other support services, without help from organisations such as this one Stopping Violence Dunedin could not continue supporting the community in the way we do. A big thank you from the team at Stopping Violence Dunedin and everyone we support.

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Safer Sooner: Strengthening family violence laws

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill is being considered by Parliament. Closing date for submissions is the 24 May 2017. You can make your submissions online here.

The Bill amends the Domestic Violence Act 1995 and other legislation including the Crimes Act, to implement proposed reforms that focus on intervening earlier to prevent future violence.

The table below summarises the key changes.

Now Future
The Act does not have enough guidance

The Act will provide better guidance about what family violence is and how to use the Act:

  • Objectives prioritise victim safety and reducing perpetrator violence
  • New principles to guide decisions
  • Clarify what the definition includes
Victims can find protection orders difficult to apply for, due to a complicated process and costs of legal advice

Protection orders will be easier to apply for:

  • Simpler application forms
  • Non-government organisations (NGOs) can apply on behalf of particularly vulnerable victims who are unable to apply themselves
  • Protection orders can be better tailored to vulnerable victims, for example older people and people with disabilities
Opportunities to intervene early and support perpetrators to stop using violence aren’t maximised

More effective at helping perpetrators change their behaviour:

  • Independent risk and needs assessment pathway created for self and Police safety order referrals
  • Under protection orders, courts can direct perpetrators to further programmes and wider range of services
When parents separate, perpetrators may use parenting arrangements as an opportunity to continue to use violence against adult and child victims

Better protect the safety of adult and child victims following separation:

  • Courts must consider extra family violence factors when assessing a child’s safety in Care of Children Act (CoCA) proceedings eg, whether a temporary protection order has been made and any breaches
  • More information sharing between CoCA and criminal cases to identify any history of family violence
Family violence offending isn’t consistently identified or recorded in the criminal justice system

Family violence offences are clearly flagged:

  • Additional information is available to judges and Police
  • Perpetrators who use family violence can be treated differently at bail and sentencing
  • Better information about family violence volumes and trends
Existing offences don’t clearly criminalise all family violence behaviours

Ensuring family violence is effectively prosecuted:

  • New family violence offences of strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a family member

More information can found here

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Domestic violence law changes

The family violence amendment bill, was read by the New Zealand Parliament on 15 March 2017 . 

Here is the information about what groups could be affected in the bill and how. 


What is the bill about?

The Family and Whānau Violence Legislation Bill would implement the Government’s “Safer Sooner reforms” policy announced in September 2016. It proposes a raft of changes to the Domestic Violence Act (and other related Acts), with a focus on:

  • getting help to those in need without them necessarily having to go to court
  • ensuring all family violence is clearly identified and risk information is properly shared
  • putting the safety of victims at the heart of bail decisions
  • creating new offences of strangulation, coercion to marry, and assault on a family member
  • making evidence gathering in family violence cases easier for Police and less traumatic for victims
  • making it easier to apply for a Protection Order
  • making offending while on a Protection Order a specific aggravating factor in sentencing
  • supporting an effective system of information sharing across all those dealing with family violence
  • enabling the setting of codes of practice across the sector

What does the bill do?

The bill proposes extensive changes to the Domestic Violence Act 1995. These include, among other things:

  • renaming the Act to Family and Whānau Violence Act 1995
  • changing references to “domestic violence” to “family violence”
  • extending what constitutes psychological abuse
  • making it easier for children to apply for protection orders
  • making it easier to enforce protection orders overseas and foreign protection orders
  • clarifying definitions of “programmes” and “prescribed services”

The Crimes Act 1961 would also be amended, in order to provide for several new offences:

  • strangulation or suffocation (up to 7 years’ imprisonment)
  • assault on a person in a family relationship (up to 2 years’ imprisonment)
  • coerced marriage or civil union (up to 5 years imprisonment)
  • abduction for purposes of marriage or civil union or sexual connection (up to 14 years imprisonment)

The bill also seeks to amend the Bail Act 2000, Care of Children Act 2004, Criminal Procedure Act 2011, Evidence Act 2006, and Sentencing Act 2002. In total, it would make consequential changes to more than thirty pieces of law.

Who might this bill affect?

  • victims of family violence
  • perpetrators of family violence
  • support services for victims of family violence
  • administrators of non-violence programmes and prescribed services

What happens next?

The bill was introduced on 15 March 2017 and is set down for first reading.

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Update on New Zealand domestic violence laws

New Zealands domestic violence laws are going to get updated by the Minister for Justice Amy Adams and the national government. They are looking at issues such as better information sharing between agencies like Stopping Violence Dunedin and stricter regulations for perpetrators. The aim of the reform is to better protect victims of domestic violence.

We will be interested as an agency to see how this will affect us and how it will affect our service delivery to our clients and the wider community. 

We look forward to seeing how this process goes. Newstalkzb Link

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MP Michael Woodhouse visits Stopping Violence Dunedin to talk about how we can work better with the government

 Michael Woodhouse visited Stopping Violence Dunedin to discuss how the government and our agency can collaborate more effectively around the issues of violence within the Dunedin community. 

There was a very informative discussion on what needs to be done and what is happening in the sector. 

He will be coming back again meet with the clients to discuss how we as a country can help assist the clients better on their path to recovery. 

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Stopping Violence Dunedin wins award.

Stopping Violence Dunedin won the City of Literature award for Stories to Heal Violence on Sunday the 19th of March. We are absolutely delighted and we would like to thank that public for their support for us in our invovment in the Fringe Festival. It's been amazing!

Thanks again for your support and thanks to our sponsors for making the show possible. We really appreciate it. 

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Stories to Heal Violence Fringe festival

Thank you so much to all the members of the public who supported our shows as part of the Fringe Festival Dunedin 2017. This is not the end of Stories to Heal Violence but only the beginning of an amazing opportunity which lies before us.

We would like to thank and congratulate the cast and crew on an amazing show.

We would also like to thank all our major sponsors and Josh Thomas Dunedin Fringe Director for their amazing support over the last few months.


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Stories to Heal Violence

For the first time ever in Stopping Violence's 31-year history, we will be a part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival for 2017. We are putting on a verbatim play called Stories to Heal Violence, which will be held at the Athenaeum, located at 24 the Octagon, on the 16th, 17th & 18th of March. Doors open at 7pm and the performance lasts from 7.30pm - 8.30pm.

This production looks at Dunedin's high rate of family violence and highlights the changes that clients of Stopping Violence Dunedin have experienced, in an honest and artistically creative portrayal. This plants the seed that as a community we can support each other in creating change. The project will honour the stories told by real people, and their bravery in wanting not only to change, but to make a difference for their children, families and the wider community.

Tickets are $10 for Adults and $5 for concession. R16 Entry.

Book Tickets Now

For more information contact Tarn on 021-245-7037.

Fringe Festival Poster - Stories to Heal Violence

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Government enquiry petition into State care abuse

The Human Rights Commission has just create a petition to the government asking for an enquiry into the abuse suffered by people under the care of the State.

Please sign this vital petition: HERE

This is the Human Rights commission has said. 

We, the undersigned, call on the New Zealand Government to

  • Initiate an independent inquiry into the abuse of people held in State care in order to identify the systemic issues that permitted this to occur and the broader impact of these events on our communities;
  • Publicly apologise to those who were affected, including those who were abused, their families and whanau.
  • take other appropriate steps to acknowledge the harm that has been caused to the victims and to provide them with appropriate redress and rehabilitation; and
  • Take action to ensure this never happens again. 

We know from their stories that many New Zealanders who were placed in government institutions suffered sexual, physical and psychological abuse inflicted by staff, social workers, caregivers, teachers, clergy, cooks, gardeners, night watchmen and even other children and patients. We suspect that institutional abuse has had a disproportionately negative impact on Māori and disabled people, including those with intellectual/learning disabilities. We are yet to establish this with certainty because of the difficulty obtaining relevant data and information.

It is important to determine the full extent and nature of the abuse that occurred. We must understand what took place and learn how and why vulnerable children, teenagers and adults could be abused within the system that was supposed to care for them. Until we know the full story and until we have the answers to these questions, we are not in a position to learn from what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

Although steps have been taken to provide resolution for some individuals through existing claims processes, these processes do not address the underlying systemic questions and do not help us ensure that events like this are prevented from occurring again in future. The intention is not to relitigate the past or to usurp existing settlements – it is to find the truth and make changes for the benefit of the next generation.

Some New Zealanders who have survived abuse while in State care have told us they want an apology, accountability and, most of all, they want decision makers to learn from the past and to ensure that future generations do not suffer as they did.

What needs to happen?

We want the Government to ensure that:

  • The voices of those abused while in State care are heard, and the ongoing impact the events have had on their lives is understood and acknowledged
  • There is official acknowledgement of the abuse that occurred
  • A general public apology is provided to all those affected, including an apology for any systemic failings of past governments
  • The experiences of those who have been affected are recognised and validated
  • The full impact on disabled people, including those with intellectual and learning disabilities, is identified and recognised  
  • The impact on Māori, of both prevalence of placement in State care and incidence of abuse is adequately assessed and considered
  • Effective and adequate support is provided for those who have been affected
  • Lessons are learned from the past and action is taken, to prevent future abuse so that this never happens again.

What should be considered? 

There are many ways to ensure that the above outcomes are realised. One of these is through an independent inquiry which should consider the following matters:

  1. The treatment of children, young people and vulnerable adults in State care in psychiatric and psychopaedic hospitals and wards, health camps, child welfare care, youth justice facilities and special education homes
  2. The extent of physical, sexual, psychological abuse and of neglect experienced while in State care
  3. The impact on individuals and groups of the processes that placed people in State care, including those in foster care and other environments outside State run facilities
  4. The adequacy of laws, policies and practices of the day in protecting those placed in State care from abuse and any systemic issues arising from this consideration
  5. Whether, at a systemic level, complaints of abuse have been sufficiently and appropriately dealt with by other official responses, investigations or criminal or civil proceedings.

Action sought

We, the undersigned, call on the Government to initiate a robust and independent inquiry into the above matters and to take other appropriate steps to ensure that the victims of abuse receive a comprehensive public apology and appropriate redress for what took place. We seek urgent engagement with the Government to discuss the process and methodology in more detail. It is important for all New Zealanders to understand the full extent of what took place and to work together to prevent future abuse of people while in the care of the State. Action is required now.


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Latest news about the ItsNotOK campaign

ItsNotOK have just launched a new resource telling people of the danger signs of being in a violent relationship. 

The Danger Signs

Signs that someone is in danger of being killed by their partner are often missed by friends, family and others until it is too late.

  • Controlling behaviour
  • Intimidation
  • Threats to kill
  • Strangulation and 'choking'
  • Worsening violence – more severe, more frequent
  • Intense jealousy or possessiveness
  • Stalking

For more information see their website here:

Information taken from ItsNotOK

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Update - 1 in 3 be Free app

The Innercity Women Group have recetnly launched the 1 in 3 be Free app. The initial assessment tool is a quiz type tool, that has 23 questions that you can answer Yes or No. depending on your answers it will give you an overview on how your relationship appears through the Duluth Power and Control wheels. 

It gives you a list of local and national website links and numbers for you to get help.

This is a great app that will help many people seek help.


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