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Bystanders campaign launched in Napier

Keeping victims of violence safe is something we can all aspire to, says Monique Heke.

Monique has been something of a foodie celebrity since featuring with husband Henry in My Kitchen Rules in 2015, and in their own series, Tradition on a Plate, which recently screened on Maori Television.

The couple recently accepted Safer Napier’s invitation to be champions for the Bystanders campaign and its key message “See something, say something”.

“Henry and I are supporting this kaupapa because violence in our communities shouldn’t ever be OK,” says Monique.

Bystanders has been launched across Napier this month, put together by Napier City Council and Te Puni Kokiri, with support from ZEAL, Red Cross and the Napier Youth Council, aka YCON.

There are two parts to the campaign; using champions including the Hekes to encourage everyday people – bystanders – to do something if they witness or know of family violence, and supporting youth to become more active “bystanders” as well.

Hawke’s Bay as a region has one of the highest rates of family violence in the country, according to data collected by the Ministry of Social Development. Much work has been done to raise awareness of this, and to encourage both victims and perpetrators to seek help.

This campaign is one way to encourage people to play a part in preventing family violence in our communities, says Natasha Carswell, Manager Community Strategies, Napier City Council.

“This project fits with the Safer Napier vision for a safe and healthy city. Family violence prevention is a key focus of our programme.”

The other campaign champions are Hayley Osterfield, Video Production Manager at Awa Media Studios, and Martin Good, radio station breakfast host at The Breeze, along with his daughter Paris, aged 14.

Hayley – who is also a mum - says she hopes this campaign gives everyone a bit of confidence in speaking out about violence.

“I want to do all I can so that my daughter grows up in a world where people don't walk past - and ignore any sort of violence. I want my friends and family to know that if they were in any type of abusive situation, I am here for them.”

Martin agrees. “When I was asked to be part of the campaign, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I believe the message “See something, say something” is so important in our communities to put an end to family violence,” says Martin.

The second part of the campaign focuses on how youth can get involved.

Richie Hardcore, advocate for social change, community worker and White Ribbon ambassador, presented the campaign to four local high schools – Sacred Heart College, Napier Boys, Taradale and Tamatea High Schools.

These schools will also have a peer-to-peer session to encourage students to become more active ‘bystanders’ and to seek help when they see something isn’t right.

Richie spent more than 20 years competing in martial art Muay Thai, picking up many titles along the way. Now he’s hung up the gloves, he fights for social change rather than trophies.

“The need for the campaign really struck home after my talks, as a number of young people messaged me on social media to share with me details of the family violence that they had witnessed in their own lives. It's a really important campaign and I'm both proud and humbled to have been involved.”

Bystanders complements the national “It’s OK to help” campaign and encourages people to use the national freephone number, 0800 456 450,for help and information.

26 May 2017

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