Search the Otago Polytechnic website
helping hands Christian Siedler 17 May 2014 CC BY ND 2.0

Family violence

It's OK to seek help.

In Gore, in rural Southland, 80% of police callouts are to incidents of family violence. Family violence is described by the Ministry of Justice as any physical, sexual or psychological abuse against any person by someone with whom they have a close personal relationship. In Gore physical abuse is most common, accompanied by psychological abuse. Men are more likely than women to be perpetrators of family violence, and male against female violence is more severe.

A team of our Nursing students undertook research into health needs in Gore, and identified family violence as a significant health issue in the Gore community and one they wanted to do something about. They found that the "southern man" persona portrays strong  masculinity and disdain for those appearing vulnerable, which may contribute to the problem both by normalising the dominance of men over women and at the same time making it harder for men to seek help,

The students aimed to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help. They developed a poster and also a keychain that communicate that it's OK for men to feel stressed, but that they should take time out and ask for help. These resources have been provided to the Gore Women's Refuge and to Oranga Tamariki for distribution in the community.

Image credit: Christian Siedler, used under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-ND 2.0.

July 2019