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Bennett: Personal Stories Motivate Change

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"A new book published by the 'It's not OK' Campaign will add to a range of Campaign resources that are helping New Zealanders to prevent family violence," Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said today.

"The book features the life stories of eight New Zealanders who grew up with family violence. Their stories illustrate the devastating effects of family violence, but also give hope that lives can be healed and that the cycle of violence can be broken," she said.

Research and anecdotal feedback since the Campaign was launched in September 2007 have reinforced the power of personal stories as a motivator for people to change.

"Television advertisements screening this year featuring four men telling their personal stories of change have made a dramatic impact around New Zealand, with many family violence prevention agencies reporting people asking for help as a result of seeing the ads," Ms Bennett said.

"Research shows that children are damaged by violence in the home, whether they see it, hear it or just know about it. The stories in this book illustrate the different forms and intensity of the results. For some the major effect was physical as they perpetuated violence in their own families; for others it meant a lifetime of anxiety.

"There is nothing so compelling as people telling their personal stories. Campaign television advertisements have been the catalyst for change for many New Zealanders and we know that these stories of the lifelong impact of family violence will do the same," Ms Bennett said.

The book has been illustrated by Wellington tertiary design students and an exhibition of their artwork coincides with the launch. The project has been a personal journey for them as they read and worked on illustrating the sometimes heartbreaking stories.

The book was launched by Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast on Tuesday 9 December. The exhibition will tour other libraries next year to publicise the book and raise awareness of the impact family violence has on children.

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