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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:21am

A crowd of over 100 people sitting in the Rolleston College auditorium

More than 150 teachers have taken part in workshops to help prevent family harm in Selwyn.

The workshops in Rolleston and Darfield were organised by the new Selwyn Safer Families group— made up of organisations committed to preventing family harm in the district.

Selwyn Safer Families is a sub-group of the Council’s Wellbeing Forum, which brings together social and health service providers in the district.

The workshops saw 170 school teachers learn the skills of recognise, response and referral for identifying and addressing harm in our community, Celine Donovan, a victim specialist from Battered Women’s Refuge, says.

“We covered the dynamics of family violence, because it’s not always visible and there’s a lot of myths around it. We covered how to recognise it, respond, and how do you get help for the victims and for people who are being violent – what help there is out there.”

The group is exploring what the specific needs in Selwyn are, and education is a key part of its focus on preventing family violence. The workshops were a first step to see how interested the community is and they were blown away by the response, she says.

West Rolleston School Deputy Principal Amanda Clarkson attended the Rolleston workshop and says it was an eye-opener and very positive and helpful. “It was really informative. It’s good for us to have learnt what to be looking out for, realising the little things. The big thing was knowing there is going to be support from police out here in Selwyn that we can access and they can come and work with our teachers.”

Selwyn Safer Families came about from a discussion between Police and Council. Council Community Services and Facilities group manager Denise Kidd says Council was delighted by the response to the workshops and the support being offered by police and the Selwyn Safer Families group.

“Selwyn is a better place when we have a strong community that looks after each other. The work of Selwyn Safer Families is an important way to make that happen and it’s fantastic to see the community embracing that.”