13 Sep 2016

How to move beyond family violence

From Checkpoint, 6:26 pm on 13 September 2016

There’s eight people meeting at a North Island home and they all stand up when asked if they were abused as a child. Six of them grew up and abused others. They talk to John Campbell about what’s needed to break that cycle.

Vic Tamati

Vic Tamati Photo: SUPPLIED

The government announced yesterday that it would overhaul family violence laws, injecting about $130 million over four years with the hope about 2300 incidents each year will be prevented.

That’s a little less than the 2 percent of family violence call-outs police attend every year.

Children are present at two thirds of them.

Vic Tamati of the It’s Not OK campaign, and Safe Man, Safe Families, told Checkpoint with John Campbell that it starts with the perpetrators.

“My focus is on us men. Us men who have always been unsafe, us men who have always been perpetrators, us men who have never known any other journey any other way.”

Mr Tamati confronted his own history of family violence, overcame it, and now works to help men move beyond it.

He introduced Checkpoint to people brave enough, and hopeful enough of something better, to confront their own history of family violence - and to courageously share their stories.

“If mum or dad were having a bad day, and especially dad, mum would cop it and then us kids would cop it,” one victim of family violence said.

“You kind of half expected to get the bash and then you let them do it and then it would be finished. The faster you cried or the faster you bled you knew then that yeah, it would stop.

“But if you stood there and tried to handle it then you’d just get more of a hiding….you just accept that’s what happens.”

Mr Tamati said it was up to the perpetrators to accept they are the problem.

“Because if there’s no perpetrators, there’s no victims...If we have safe families then our legacy is, we can pass that on to our kids.

“Otherwise it’s just going to be the same old, same old.”