Hawke's Bay health organisations have shown their support for this year's White Ribbon campaign.

Yesterday Hastings Health Centre (HHC) signed a pledge to help prevent violence towards women, while Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) has spent the week undertaking a number of initiatives in support for the campaign which culminates in White Ribbon Day celebrated nationally today.

Several schools also attended an Anti-Violence White Ribbon Whanau Day at Omahu Marae yesterday with helicopter rides by Heli Adventure Flights, Taupo.

The HHC team of doctors, nurses and health professionals signed a pledge to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men's violence towards woman as part of the campaign.


HHC chief executive Andrew Lesperance said their commitment also marks HHC's work leading New Zealand primary health care on screening for family violence over the past eight years.

The region has one of the worse rates of family violence in the country but the team is working towards reducing it.

"As Hastings' largest provider of family health care our team plays an important part in the local community.

"It's very important we continue to raise awareness so more people know this is a safe place to talk and get help and professional support for those living with family violence."

The clinical team asks women about family violence about 1200 times a year.

About 120 women report they have experienced some form of abuse in the past, and about 60 disclose that they are currently victims of domestic violence and have been provided with the appropriate support, he said.

HHC was the first primary health care provider in New Zealand to develop and commit to a family violence screening policy in 2009.

Mr Lesperance said it is compulsory for all staff to undertake training to ask the right questions so they can help recognise and respond to those patients who are victims of family violence and refer them for the support they need.

"In collaboration with Health Hawke's Bay, we also provide free training to other family practices and health service providers who have regular contact with women."

HBDHB staff have spent the week widely promoting the campaign with banners outside the Hawke's Bay Hospital main entrance as well as information booths, wall silhouettes along hospital corridors, staff activities and White Ribbon DHB ambassadors attending events across the region.

HBDHB Family Violence Intervention Programme co-ordinator Cheryl Newman said this week was about promoting that, as a DHB, staff cared about people within its community and were there to help in a variety of ways.

"Violence and abuse in families has damaging physical and mental health effects and we have some worrying statistics in Hawke's Bay.

"In Hawke's Bay we have 52 incidents per 10,000 people - this is more than five times the national average.

"Through raising awareness of the impact of violence and screening all women over 16 years, we can play a significant role in tackling this problem and assisting people experiencing violence and abuse."

On Wednesday 30 motorcyclists made their way to Napier, Hastings and Otane for several events as part of the White Ribbon Ride which is making its way around the country.