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Campaign to prevent family violence amid lockdown

Photo: Daniel Hines/SunLive.

White Ribbon is launching an online campaign to help prevent family violence and encourage New Zealanders to practice respectful relationships.

“In an unprecedented national emergency, everyone in New Zealand has found themselves cooped up inside for the COVID-19 lockdown period,” says White Ribbon manager Rob McCann.

“In any household, ‘cabin fever’ creates tension - but it becomes a huge risk for families with a history of domestic violence, and organisations such as Women’s Refuge and the New Zealand Police are concerned.”

White Ribbon have come up with #ourhouserules - simple behaviours to create a “safe and happy” lockdown for everyone.

“It creates a platform to talk about positive behaviours in the home, and helps us reach out to vulnerable families.

“There are three sets of images to convey the messages to families. We will be posting these online and we hope that our supporters will share them with family, friends and workplaces.”

Rob says it’s especially important to remind men who struggle to control their emotions that they can choose alternative behaviours.

“We’re encouraging everyone to think about their house rules, and check in with their friends and family to see how they’re doing in these challenging times.”

For more information about the campaign visit their website.

#OURHOUSERULES include:

Stay at home – but stay connected.

There are so many ways we can stay in touch these days - from the classic phone call, a simple txt, to video calls and online games. It’s important that we stay connected, even if we’re in isolation. If you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed or angry – call a mate you trust to vent and talk it through. Give your partner some time out to have a coffee or a cuppa with a mate over a video call. Set up a video call with the kids and their grandparents, cousins or friends. And if you’re concerned about someone in a bad situation, reach out and ask how they’re going. Emergency services and refuges are essential services that are always available, lockdown or not. Contact Women’s Refuge on 0800 733 843 or Shine* on 0508-744-633. If you are in immediate danger, call 111 and ask for the police. If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call - 0800 HEY BRO.

 Not scared spaces – shared spaces.

All of us have the right to feel safe, happy and cared for in our own homes. As families, we all get on each other’s nerves – even without a lockdown – but in these challenging times we need to look out for each other and make sure we’re creating positive places to spend time together. As parents, our kids learn their behaviour from us. Be respectful of your partner, be kind to your kids and together let’s create a space where we can say #ourhouserules! If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call - 0800 HEY BRO.

Don’t take it out on them – take a walk.

While we’re in lockdown, it’s ok to go outside for fresh air and exercise. As long as we’re staying in our neighbourhood, and sticking to advice about keeping a 2-metre distance between us and others, we’re all good. If you find yourself getting frustrated, let your family know that you need to take a walk. Be respectful too – check how your partner is doing, maybe they could use some fresh air. If the kids need to burn off some energy, take them for a bike around the block. Find ways to get outside and take that time out, but stick to the lockdown rules. If you think you are going to harm a loved one, reach out and call - 0800 HEY BRO.

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