'It's not OK' shines a light on family violence: New Zealand's multipronged campaign succeeds at building awareness and understanding among many target groups.

Author:Surgenor, Gael
Position::Case in point

Family violence is a major social problem in New Zealand. Half of all murders are committed by a family member, and on average, 14 women, 10 children and 6 men die as a result of family violence each year. Police deal with approximately 70,000 calls about family violence, but many thousands of cases go unreported.


Yet qualitative research, including interviews and focus groups with perpetrators and the general public, showed that New Zealanders didn't have a clear understanding of the nature and scope of the problem. There was a strongly held belief that family violence referred to physical violence only. From perpetrators, there was widespread disassociation ("That's not who I am"), justification ("I was provoked") and minimization ("I never hit her").

The research showed a need to demonstrate that family violence is a serious issue for all New Zealanders, and to begin to mobilize social change. In 2005, the government established a multi agency Taskforce for Action on Violence Within Families to address the issue. The result was the Campaign for Action on Family Violence--the "It's Not OK" campaign, which is currently funded through 2010.

The campaign had an ambitious task of connecting with all New Zealanders:

* Perpetrators: those who needed to stop violent behavior

* Victims: the direct and indirect targets of violence

* Influencers: those who help create an environment of intolerance for family violence and support for violence-free lives (including social, work and cultural networks, and media commentators)

* The "system": those involved in the process of education and enforcement around family violence

* Activists: those working for change nationally or locally

Goals and objectives

The vision of the task force was for all families to have healthy, respectful, stable relationships, free from violence. The key objectives of the "It's Not OK" campaign were:

* To increase awareness of family violence so that it becomes visible and talked about throughout New Zealand.

* To increase understanding of family violence and its many effects.

* To increase the personal relevance of family violence so that New Zealanders acknowledge that we can all help do something about it.

* To promote a greater propensity to act against family violence for victims, perpetrators, families and influencers.

* To create a social climate that supports behavioral change.

Solution and implementation

With its key message, "It's not OK--but it is OK to ask for help,"...

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