A seminar to challenge the conventional understanding of family violence will be held next month at the Whanganui racecourse.

Dignity Whanganui works to introduce "response based practice" to improve how officials respond to individuals in abusive relationships.

Jigsaw Whanganui executive officer Tim Metcalfe says the practice aims to change the way people see victims of domestic violence.
"What response based practice is based around is the idea that those who experience violence will always work to restore their dignity."

He says often people make the assumption that those experiencing violence are passive victims or somehow responsible for the abuse.
"Often women who are subjected to violence have all sorts of judgments made about them, people can say 'she should get rid of the guy or she should do more for her kids.'"

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"That's counterproductive to building safety, because what happens is the victim simply feels isolated and shamed."
"So response based practice works off the opposite assumption, and attempts to take note of small acts of resistance," he said.

The conference speakers are therapists Dr Cathy Richardson and Dr Allan Wade. Both have worked closely with indigenous communities overseas to introduce response based practice.

All officials involved in social services are invited to attend the three day seminar, starting on the 2nd of November.

Entry fee is starts at $115 for one day.