Champions of Kapiti spreading message

By David Haxton

Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan, middle, with the Champions of Kapiti, from left, Brian Colegate, Mike Tahere, Jess Ward, Debs Phillips, Elan Van Mills and Andy Christiansen. Absent Kaz Deverill.
Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan, middle, with the Champions of Kapiti, from left, Brian Colegate, Mike Tahere, Jess Ward, Debs Phillips, Elan Van Mills and Andy Christiansen. Absent Kaz Deverill.

The Champions of Kapiti popped into K Gurunathan's mayoral office on Wednesday to talk about their role, discuss family violence and seek support from him and the council for the project.

The champions, focusing on Paraparaumu initially, are a group of everyday people who have volunteered their time to spread the message that all forms of family violence are not ok and that help is available.

The newly-formed champions, Brian Colegate, Mike Tahere, Jess Ward, Debs Phillips, Elan Van Mills, Andy Christiansen and Kaz Deverill, who are fully trained and police vetted, act as stepping stones to help link people to Kapiti support services not to mention someone to simply talk to.

Already there have been approaches to various champions asking for help.

The campaign relies on all sectors of the community, support services and the local council, getting behind the project, promoting the champions and supporting the messages:

* Family violence does happen in Kapiti.

* All forms of family violence/harm is not acceptable - physical, psychological, economic.

* It is OK to ask for help.

* Help is available.

* Talk to our champions.

Police statistics regarding family violence investigations in Kapiti were: 2014/15 - 801, 2015/16 - 966, 2016/17 - 905.

It should be noted that these statistics show the number of investigations rather than incidents, and that Kapiti police boundaries are from Paekakariki to Peka Peka and top of the Akatarawas.

Mr Tahere, a former policeman, said most domestic violence incidents went unreported to police.

"That's the reality."

Campaign spokesman Ross McCracken said one of the one of the concerns expressed by the champions to the mayor was the lack of understanding by the public just how big an issue family violence is in Kapiti.

"Part of the champions' role is to help raise awareness as to what family violence is.

"It is more than just the physical aspect of violence - it is also the harm aspect of family violence. This is the emotional aspect that affect children through to older people... "

The project hoped to expand to other parts of the district.

Mr Gurunathan said he was honoured to join the seven Champions of Kapiti to highlight the message that family violence is not OK.

"These are people from all walks of life who have put their hands up to be the go-to people in our communities ready and able to support to anyone who may have concerns regarding family violence.

"I congratulate A Safer Kapiti for this innovative idea.

"The statistics on reports to police, made from our communities, indicates domestic violence is high if not the highest.

"This is a concern, especially where children are involved or are witnesses to acts of violence within their families.

"I call on more people from our communities to also put their hands up to join up to become champions."

www.ask.kiwi/News/champions-of-kapiti-campaign

- Kapiti News

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 25 Oct 2017 00:26:18 Processing Time: 701ms