Fantastic evening; serious issue

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A debate held last week to raise awareness about domestic violence was “extremely” well-supported by Oamaruvians.

More than 100 people turned up to the celebrity debate, based around the subject `Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’, at the Oamaru Opera House on Thursday night.

Waitaki District Council community safety and development facilitator Helen Algar said the night exceeded expectations with a nice mix of humour and seriousness.

“It was a fantastic evening.

“I was really thrilled with the audience.

“It was extremely well-supported by the community.”

The affirmative team, made up of Steve Hotton, Dot Smith and Hilary Bishop thrashed it out with the negative team, David Jackson, Tim Hitchcock and Patrice Harrex, in a balanced way with moderator Tracy Walker (Waitaki Girls’ High School principal) announcing a draw, Mrs Algar said.

“It was a genuine draw.

“No line could be drawn between them.”

Author and former police officer Bill O’Brien gave a poignant presentation about the origins of the White Ribbon Campaign, she said.

Having an event like this is necessary for the community because there are currently about six family violence call-outs a week in Waitaki, Mrs Algar said.

“This is an important issue.

“In line with the Sophie Elliott Foundation we would like to think that every young man and woman is aware of and able to tell the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship.”

This event was made possible with funding from It’s Not OK and was organised by Safer Waitaki, Zonta and the Family Violence Working Group.

By RUBY HARFIELD