Help for violent women

Family violence is not just a man's domain and more women are seeking help for their abusive tendencies.

Stopping Violence Dunedin (SVD) manager Lynne Baird said the organisation received at least one phone call a week from women wanting to do something about their violent tendencies.

Feedback from probation officers and Women's Refuge reiterated a need for help targeted at women.

New Zealand police statistics showed in about 5% of domestic violence cases the offender was a woman, but in reality the proportion was "bound to be" more, she said.

The "It's not OK" campaign had raised awareness about the different kinds of violence and abuse in society and prompted more women to realise their behaviour was classed as negative.

Unhealthy power and control tactics were not just about violence but included emotional and economic abuse as well as using sex as a means of coercion or threat, using children to get your way and blaming others for your actions.

"It's not just about her with the black eye," Ms Baird said.

In response to this, SVD created a women's education programme, which will be trialled in Dunedin next month.

Among other things, it will explore patterns of behaviour and highlight tools for living a life free of violence and abuse.

The sessions cover building self-esteem, setting safe boundaries, developing good communication skills and the impact of society on women.

It will also focus on the impact of violence on children and partners.

The programme is being developed with the support of the Department of Internal Affairs and a Lions Foundation donation enabled it to be provided free.

The programme starts on June 1, with sessions to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 12.30pm.


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