Press Release – Jigsaw
Two recent cases have shown that speaking up about abusive behaviour is really hard – even for the experts.eNews November 2012
Two recent cases have shown that speaking up about abusive behaviour is really hard – even for the experts.
Jigsaw’s SKIP Dad and Family Coordinator Quentin Solomon recently saw a man being intimidating and abusive towards his female partner in the Wellington suburb of Newtown.
Quentin was in one of about 20 cars stuck in traffic, but he decided to get out of the car and walk towards the couple. He could tell that other people in their vehicles felt uncomfortable with the aggressive actions shown by the man.
The first thing he said was “Is everything okay?” The man told him everything was fine and told him to go away. But the woman looked scared and Quentin decided the situation looked hostile. He called 111 and asked for the police.
Within five minutes a police car responded and Quentin later was interviewed by the police about what he had seen. “It took about 20-30 minutes of questioning, but it was worth it to know that the woman involved was safe and unharmed.”
In the Sunday Star Times recently columnist Michael Laws wrote of how he witnessed a woman yelling obscenities at her two small children after school in Whanganui.
Mr Laws took note of her licence plate number but didn’t get a chance to speak to the woman directly. He was sufficiently concerned that he followed up the incident with the school principal.
It’s actually really hard to stand up and speak out about violence towards women and children. It’s much easier to turn away and pretend it didn’t happen.
… what could you do if you’re worried about a child?
If you see behaviour towards children that upsets you it’s important to let the adult know that it’s not okay.
Jigsaw Chief Executive (Strategic Operations) Sally Christie says if you can and it’s safe to do so, enquire if there’s anything you can do to help.
“They might not be ready to listen, but both the adult and the children will hear that the behaviour is not acceptable and that people care.”
If it’s a child at your school, speaking to the school principal is an option.
Perhaps the school community could do something to uncover the reason behind the adult’s stress and support them and the children earlier.
“Contacting a friend or relative of the adult or child could be an option.
Knowing your community and who people are connected to so they can give the support is vital, especially when people don’t want help from outsiders,” Sally says.
Schools can also connect with community groups and social services that have the skills and expertise to help families (Jigsaw agencies can help and are located throughout the country).
“We need to speak up for children as they often can’t do so themselves. Jigsaw strongly urges people to think ahead about what action they would take if they saw a domestic violence incident,” Sally says.
“Talk about it with your workmates or friends. I hope you’ll never need to use your plan, but at least you’ll have one.”
Interacting with infants
Have you ever thought seriously about how you interact with infants and why you do it that way? At Jigsaw’s national conference, CAPS Hauraki ran a Baby Space workshop which communicated a thought-provoking perspective on respect within the infant-caregiver relationship.
Sue Smith, a Parent Educator from CAPS Hauraki, explained that caregivers typically spend a lot of time doing things to infants: wiping a runny nose, putting a hat on a head or passing them to another person to hold without asking for the infant’s permission first.
The respect we show to adults when we invite their participation in an activity, or wait until they are finished something before interrupting, is ofter overlooked when interacting with an infant.
Sue explained that if caregivers are conscious of doing less but observing and respecting more, a partnership of respect between caregiver and infant develops. She says it’s an obvious step towards creating abuse-free households and peaceful communities.
More information can be found at penniebrownlee.weebly.com or by contacting CAPS Hauraki on 07 868 8644 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiring communities to bring people together
Jigsaw’s project to encourage people to reconnect with their communities is starting to bear fruit.
The launch of the Thames Arts Festival – Beside the Seaside – is an example of how one person can bring a community together. The organiser Deborah MacDonald Brown attended two events run by Jigsaw under our Thames Linking Communities (TLC) project last year. TLC’s key goal is to encourage everyday New Zealanders to look out for each other and our children.
Deborah credits TLC with giving her the courage to take on a leadership role and to connect with people.
“I learned that making change can be as simple as smiling at people in the street and being inclusive,” Deborah says.
Now Deborah, along with a dedicated steering committee, has encouraged the community to put together a fabulous two-week arts programme for the arts festival, comprising more than 50 events.
They’ve inspired children to get involved in art and helped them to create their own sea creature costumes for a procession to the beach. There will also be street art, exhibitions, dancing and music in the streets.
What a great way of bringing the community together – tino pai!
The Thames Arts Festival runs from 23 November to 9 December 2012.
Footsteps supports communities to encourage children to thrive
Jigsaw partner Footsteps is passionate about supporting our communities to encourage children to learn and grow to their full potential. They demonstrated this recently with the Footsteps Wellington Fun Day.
The Wellington Footsteps team of home-based early childhood teachers set up a variety of activities at Waitangi Park for pre-schoolers, their caregivers and Footsteps families.
From painting feet cut-outs, creating giant bubbles and racing around a challenge course to playing soccer, there was plenty of variety for families to get a taste of the rich and exciting activities that Footsteps kaiako provide for children on their Footsteps Learning Journey. They also created homemade drums and enjoyed a vibrant music session, singing and dancing around on the grass area.
The Wellington Fun Day was a great example of how to provide fun, sustainable and cost-effective resources and activities to extend and enrich children’s learning, development and interests.
Jigsaw partners in the news
In her opinion piece New Zealand’s greatest shame (Sunday Star Times, 18 November), Libby Robins from Christchurch-based Family Help Trust wrote about how it is possible to support parents to turn their lives around and teach them better parenting skills.
And Jigsaw’s Chairperson Tim Metcalfe, of jigsaw whanganui, talked about how the White Ribbon campaign is helping to reduce violence against women (Wanganui Chronicle, 13 November).
Celebrating our pieces of the Jigsaw
We are thrilled that Tokoroa’s Rebekah Garner has been named as a semi-finalist in the Local Hero Category for Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year awards.
Rebekah, with the support of Jigsaw, has been promoting strong role models for fathers using our extra ordinary dads campaign. Her group Cherish our Children was started in response to high rates of child abuse in her area.
Well done Rebekah. Your work is making a difference for kids.
Well done also to our partner in Waikato, Child Matters, which won the Westpac Waikato Business Excellence Award in the Not for Profit category.
We all know what amazing work Child Matters does and it’s great to see them recognised formally by their local business community. Congratulations from the team at Jigsaw.
The film Broken Glass is to have its first screening in Wellington early next month. Jigsaw, along with Jigsaw partner Shine, has lent its support to the movie, which brings together the difficult subject matters of bullying and domestic violence within the context of a modern day fairy tale.
Filmmaker Chaz Harris says that after the screening they’ll be applying for overseas film festivals in the hope that they can get selected for a world premiere at one of them.
We congratulate Chaz and his team as their project reaches fruition – we can’t wait to see the film and will let you know all about it next time we’re in touch.
The Stragglers are back raising funds for Jigsaw. Angeline Quick and her family and friends chose to support Jigsaw in their AMI Round the Bays run earlier this year, and they’ve signed up to repeat their efforts in next February’s run – thanks guys!
Head over to The Stragglers’ Everyday Hero fundraising page to learn more and add your support.