MP a ‘White Ribbon Ambassador’

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by Claire Allison

Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon has joined 103 other New Zealanders in being appointed as a “White Ribbon Ambassador” by the White Ribbon Trust.

The white ribbon campaign has been in New Zealand since 2006, but its history goes back to 1991 when it was launched in Canada following the mass shooting of 14 female students in Montreal.

Mr Falloon said each year November 25 was recognised as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, but there were a lot of other important programmes and work happening throughout the year in schools and the wider community.

“One of the key things I want to focus on in my work as an ambassador is promoting healthy relationships.

“Too many young people who see violence and other harm in their home go on to become abusers, while others come to expect it from their partner or spouse as part of a normal relationship.

“That’s not what love looks like.

“This is not a small problem, or one that exists only within some parts of our society. Family violence and harm exists across every demographic.”

Mr Falloon said every year police responded to more than 100,000 callouts for family violence in New Zealand. However, it was estimated 80% of incidents were never reported to police.

“They’re horrendous statistics, which unfortunately I see far too often in my role as local MP. Soon after being elected to Parliament I contacted the White Ribbon Trust to see how I could help.”

Mr Falloon joins former Timaru police officer and district councillor Steve Wills in the local role.