Panel members at a public meeting in Christchurch marking ‘White Ribbon Day’ agreed that the government’s approach to family violence is flawed.
White Ribbon Day is originally a Canadian initiative asking men to wear a white ribbon to show they are against violence against women.
The panel members, Ken Clearwater from Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Harald Breiding-Buss from Father & Child, Daryl Gregory from He Waka Tapu and Barrister Steven van Bohemen all warned that lumping together domestic violence with child abuse can lead to worse outcomes for children.
Gregory advocated a family approach in all but the most severe cases of domestic violence, and said that he thinks the Domestic Violence Act needed to be scrapped and the issue looked at anew.
Several members in the audience felt that White Ribbon Day further perpetrates the myth of men (and only men) being inherently violent. One member called for domestic violence accusations to be properly investigated, like any other crime.
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