Coromandel campaign to prevent child sex abuse

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A campaign to prevent child sexual abuse has been launched on Wednesday in Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula.

The project is a partnership between the Whitianga community and government agencies and NGOs.

Kathy Archibald from Right2bSafe says local people who have mana in the community will act as champions and have the courage to stand up to say that sexual abuse of children is not OK.

They will promote simple, hopeful and helpful messages to help people make a difference to protect children.

The campaign will include having billboards and posters in prominent places in Whitianga to reinforce the messages.

Child sexual abuse is no more prevalent in Mercury Bay than elsewhere, Archibald says, and she's hopeful the campaign may spread to other areas.

''As part of the awareness raising we always say that one in three girls and one in six boys have experienced some form of sexual abuse by the time they reach 16.''

After giving a presentation in the community in 2021, there is great willingness to do something about the issue.

''To spread the word if you like and break the silence and start the conversation in terms of protecting children, tamariki in the area from sexual abuse.''

Over the last year there has been a mobilisation of the community to support Right2bSafe, she says.

''The community has had the courage to stand up and say as a community we want to do something about it.''

Archibald says it's a case of the community taking ownership of the problem.

The project will be evaluated at the end of the summer.

-Andrew McRae/RNZ.

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