Steve Wills has become the first South Canterbury person to be named a White Ribbon ambassador.
Senior Constable Wills said he was chuffed with the honour, which involved him being nominated, his background in the field checked, and a phone interview.
White Ribbon ambassadors are seen as embodying the principles of the campaign and are chosen for their willingness to challenge the behaviour of abusive men and convey key messages directly to their own communities.
Snr Const Wills has been involved with family violence since about 1999, initially as part of his role as a community police officer, but full-time since 2000, when he became the family violence co-ordinator for South Canterbury.
“It’s a very challenging and complex role and an area that demands quite a bit of your professional time, dealing with both victims and offenders, but it’s an opportunity to be an integral part of the change for both victims and offenders.
“Over the years, I’ve seen some really good outcomes, where the victim has been able to effect change to get themselves into a safe place and move on with their life, or an offender has effected good change with support from police and other agencies and has gone back to their relationship, changed their behaviours, and are contributing to the family.”
In his role, Snr Const Wills works closely with government and non-government organisations, and says having the support and expertise of those people and groups helps a lot.
“One of the special, unique situations that we have here in Timaru and South Canterbury is the size, which means we can work together really well.
“People tend to open doors, not close them, and we can achieve a lot with some quick phone calls or visits, to get the support that’s needed.”