Male hospital staff will hand out white ribbons to visitors on Friday.

Men will be on hand to talk to staff, visitors and patients interested in finding out what the White Ribbon campaign stands for and what sits behind the campaign's tagline: 'I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men's violence against women and children'.

A waka at the front of the hospital is expected to prompt a number of questions, which Ned Tapa from Maori Health Services says the men will be happy to answer.

"We're placing the waka there to highlight the need for communities to work together in eliminating family violence," Mr Tapa says. "Just as people worked together to build the waka, so is our community working together to create a safer environment for women and children."


Mr Tapa says men have a critical role to play in speaking out and responding when they hear, see or become aware of males behaving violently. While domestic violence such as punching, kicking or attempted strangulation is usually viewed as physical assault it can also be sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological.

"We encourage males to demonstrate their support for women and children wanting to live free of violence by refusing to accept any violent behaviour within their immediate and wider families which includes their peers, workmates, friends and sports clubs," Mr Tapa says.

Meanwhile, Health Board Child Youth Mortality Review Committee regional co-ordinator Terry Sarten says the Whanganui board's Violence Intervention Project is an important part of the collective approach to tackle family violence effectively. "While some might think it's difficult to try and change the attitudes and actions that give rise to violence, I believe change is happening," Mr Sarten says.

"Whanganui Women's Refuge is seeing increasing numbers of women who want, and expect, to live their lives free of violence so this in itself signals that change is occurring. White Ribbon Day provides an opportunity for men to walk the talk together, united in their intention to end violence against women and children."

The Waka will also be joining the community White Ribbon march along Victoria Ave at midday on November 24 to reinforce the need for all sections of society to be actively working together in the prevention of violence to women and children.