Knowledge is key for youth to avoid abusive relationships

Press Release – YMCA

The Ray Charles classic song ‘Hit the Road Jack’ should be the mobile phone ring tone of choice for young women. That’s what over 100 leaders of organisations working with youth in Hawke’s Bay heard over breakfast in Napier today. (Friday 11 November).11 November 2011

Knowledge is key for youth to avoid abusive relationships

The Ray Charles classic song ‘Hit the Road Jack’ should be the mobile phone ring tone of choice for young women. That’s what over 100 leaders of organisations working with youth in Hawke’s Bay heard over breakfast in Napier today. (Friday 11 November).

Lynda Kearns, a Barrister specialising in Family Law, addressed the gathering hosted by YMCA Hawke’s Bay, and shared her programme to raise awareness of relationship violence issues facing young people.

Motivated by more than nearly three decades dealing with domestic violence cases, Mrs Kearns has developed a programme aimed at preventing violence rather than dealing with the aftermath. Titled ‘Hit the Road Jack’, the presentation to Year 13 girls focuses on what domestic violence is and how to spot the warning signs.

She urged the gathering to support the programme becoming part of the Year 13 curriculum and that “recognising the warning signs of abuse” is a key to avoiding staying or entering into a violent relationship.

Mrs Kearns also spoke about how working with Lesley Elliot, mother of murder victim Sophie Elliot, in her presentations has given a “more specific” aspect to her programme and said that Lesley admits “they missed all the warning signs that lead to her daughter’s death”.

YMCA Hawke’s Bay Board President, Eileen von Dadelszen says she is pleased the organisation is taking a leadership role with this issue.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to invite speakers of such a high calibre and reputation as Lynda Kearns to our breakfast events. The YMCA is a supporter of the White Ribbon campaign against domestic violence and it is our desire to inform and educate people who work within youth services in Hawke’s Bay about this universal problem,” says Mrs von Dadelszen.

Mrs Kearns is aiming to bring ‘Hit the Road Jack’ to schools in Hawke’s Bay in March 2012. She is also working on developing a variation targeting young males, and together with Mrs Elliot, a programme suitable for mixed audiences.

Background Information on Lynda Kearns

Hit the Road Jack: Recognising and avoiding abusive relationships

The well-known song ‘Hit the Road Jack’ made famous by Otis Redding in 1961, is used as the title of Lynda’s anti-domestic violence presentation she makes to schools around the country.

Motivated by more than two decades of dealing with domestic violence cases, Lynda decided the best way to try and stop violence would be to target young women before they entered into relationships.

A Barrister specialising in Family Law, Lynda, working with Lesley Elliot, mother of murder victim Sophie Elliot, has created a programme aimed at preventing violence rather than dealing with the aftermath.

Her presentation to youth focuses on what domestic violence is and how to spot the warning signs, of which there are many. The talk is relevant and topical, including what role texting, Facebook and other social media can play, and gives young people strategies to exit abusive relationships or to recognise the signs in order to help others.

Lynda previously chaired the Auckland District Law Society Family Law Subcommittee and has served on committees of the Family Law Section. She has presented numerous seminars on Family Law issues.

Together with Judge John Adams, Lynda presented seminars throughout New Zealand on the new Domestic Violence Act and edited the Domestic Violence chapter in Trapski’s Family Law for nine years.

When she is not on the road delivering her presentations, Lynda practices as a Barrister in Auckland.

ENDS

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