The foundation set up to teach young people about abusive relationships in the wake of the murder of a Dunedin woman is about to close, but its message will continue to be heard.

Sophie Elliott Foundation founder Lesley Elliott says age and the onset of Parkinson's disease means it is time for her to end her work raising awareness among young people and their families and friends of the dangers of unsafe and violent relationships.

Despite the foundation closing for good on October 4, its work will go on.

Police are picking up the baton and continuing to run the Loves-Me-Not programme.


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Elliott's mum Lesley Elliott speaking to students about abusive relationships. Photo / File
Elliott's mum Lesley Elliott speaking to students about abusive relationships. Photo / File

And Mrs Elliott gave a message to young women as she ended the crusade that followed her daughter's death, urging them to respect themselves, and be aware their bodies were their own.

She said they should not be persuaded to sleep with men "just because everybody else is doing it", and should leave any relationship in which they felt uncomfortable.

The Loves-Me-Not programme was established after Sophie Elliott, 22, was stabbed to death in 2008 by her former boyfriend, Clayton Weatherston, at her family home in Ravensbourne.

Miss Elliott was stabbed 216 times during the ferocious attack, and Weatherston was jailed for a minimum of 18 years in 2009.

The foundation's programme aims to equip young people with the skills to identify early warning signs so they can avoid becoming involved in abusive relationships.

Yesterday, Mrs Elliott said the reason for ending the foundation was in part the heavy workload carried by her and foundation trustee Bill O'Brien.

"We just feel like we've achieved what I wanted."


Mrs Elliott said she did not have "the greatest of health", and was finding it difficult to keep up with the work.

Both she and Mr O'Brien are in their 70s.

Mrs Elliott has written two books, Sophie's Legacy and Loves Me Not, the book that goes with the programme, and had given away about 47,000 copies of the latter as part of the programme.

She said police were already running the programme and using the foundation's materials, as the two had been partners.

"We've handed the whole thing over to them.

Weatherston on trial in 2009. Photo / Supplied
Weatherston on trial in 2009. Photo / Supplied

"The Loves-Me-Not programme will continue on and hopefully grow more and more."

Mrs Elliott said she was concerned about the promiscuity of young people, and that young women did not respect the fact "it's their body and they should do what they want with it".

She had been told by young women they had been persuaded to go to bed with young men because "everybody else was doing it".

If people felt uncomfortable in a relationship, it was clear what they should do.

"Don't hang about."

Young men were also part of the equation.

"For guys, I'm not sure what we do with them."

She pointed to King's High School Boys to Men programme that teaches everything from car maintenance and domestic skills to sex and intimacy as the sort of teaching they needed.