A family-violence role-play exercise in Rotorua's Central Mall proved enough of an eye opener for some to ask for help.
Students from Mokoia Intermediate School teamed up with Rotorua police yesterday to act out various scenarios and highlight family violence themes.
It was one aspect of Operation Presence, a districtwide police operation to engage with the community. Yesterday's operation focused on family violence.
"It created some opportunities for people who felt stuck in that situation to ask for help," said Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne.
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"They watched the children and identified something in their own relationship. It's great that people were brave enough to do that.
"The other thing that was interesting was watching the dynamics of people watching. Some men were quite uncomfortable but their partners wanted to keep watching."
The operation also involved work at community gardens at Kea St School and Western Heights Primary School, music and food at City Focus and food parcels delivered to 25 families by the Eastside Community Collective.
"We're aware that this time of year can put extra pressure on some of our whanau," said Leigh Richards-Ward, community-led co-ordinator for the Mokoia Community Association.
"A practical way of supporting them is to provide some care packages. This is the first time we've done this but we have community initiatives throughout the year." The families receiving care parcels were identified by schools, Te Waiariki Purea Trust, Plunket and the Mokoia Community Association.
"We were really pleased to have received an invitation from Mokoia Community Association to be part of one of their community projects," said Detective Sergeant George Staunton, Rotorua police family violence co-ordinator.
•One in three women will experience partner violence in her life.
•On average, 14 women are killed by their partners or ex-partners in New Zealand each year.
•More than 3500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women.
•Only 20 per cent of abuse cases are reported.
- Source: White Ribbon