Happy New Year everyone!

Taranaki Safe Families Trust wishes to welcome everyone into the new year, but also the new decade.

The 2020s will hopefully be a decade that leads to a reduction in family violence amongst our whānau in Taranaki. It will also be a decade in which we will have open and honest conversations about shattering the myths, and acknowledging the real underlying causes of family violence.

Let's make the 2020s a decade in which the utilisation of local services is encouraged and promoted. A decade in which our community comes together as one to change the future for our children and grandchildren.

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Let this be the decade in which we say 'enough is enough'.

At Taranaki Safer Families Trust we realise that it all sounds good in theory and the remedy is easier said than done, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

We have the most awful statistics when it comes to abuse and violence in relationships. In fact, we are among the world's worst. You don't believe me?

Consider the following facts:
* Between 2009 and 2015, 194 people were killed as a result of family violence. That's 32 per year.
* Responding to family violence accounts for around 41 per cent of a frontline police officer's time.
* Police respond to a family violence call out every four minutes.
* One in every three women will experience violence at the hands of a partner or ex-partner at some point in their lives. This is even more prevalent for Māori women.
* It is estimated less than 20 per cent of total family violence incidents are reported to authorities.
* Family violence costs our country an estimated $8.2 billion per year.

So how do we address this monstrosity of an issue? Where do we even begin? First of all, we need to acknowledge the elephant in the room. We have a massive family violence issue in Aotearoa.

We need to stop promoting the myth New Zealand is some sort of utopian, clean, green paradise ideal for raising children. It's not.

Our resources are being plundered, the waterways are poisoned and we kill nine of our tamariki every year. It's not the boogie man lurking in bushes we need to worry about, it's what's happening inside the family unit that's most concerning.

We have to accept the existence of this truth. Only then can we come together and work towards healing our communities

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