‘Sticks and stones’ coming to Oamaru

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‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’ will be the topic of a fun and entertaining debate taking a light-hearted look at a serious issue.

The debate, which is being held at the Oamaru Opera House, will be the culmination of a range of Family Violence Awareness activities that have been undertaken during the last year. The debate is being coordinated by Safer Waitaki and the Family Violence working group.

Waitaki District Council community safety and development facilitator Helen Algar said they have a committed team who have worked together to come up with an event that is engaging and fun but also raises awareness of a critical issue for communities.

“Last year the title was ‘A good smack never hurt anyone’ and focused on physical abuse and this time we are focusing on the more common but less recognised psychological elements of abuse,” she said.

The idea is not to lecture but to raise awareness and if this debate is anything like last year the audience will be highly entertained with a large dollop of fun and hilarity alongside the more sobering aspects that are the reality of family violence in all communities.

Team \captains include Steve Hotton the former Otago rugby prop and owner of The Valley cafe and restuarant and David Jackson are corralling their teams. The competition will be highly competitive.

Family violence response coordinator, Amanda Wills, said the event has been made possible with funding from ‘It’s Not OK’ and Campaign for Action on Family Violence.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy says to address any issue there has to be awareness and the concept of the debate is to raise further awareness of family violence and the effect that it has within a relationship and the community.

“It is only when we have awareness of an issue that we can truly address it,” he said.

The debate starts at 7pm on Thursday 27 November and is open to everyone. Entry is by a gold coin donation with proceeds going to the Sophie Elliott Foundation.

Supporting activities include a White Ribbon ride, involving local motorcyclists and car clubs. Being held on Wednesday 26 November, participants will visit four secondary schools (East Otago High School, Waitaki Girls’ High School, Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College) where key messages against family violence will be shared with students.