Educating youth about respectful relationships and domestic violence can only lead to a better future.
Stronger Waitaki’s respectful relationships film competition involving St Kevin’s College, East Otago High School and Waitaki Boys’ and Waitaki Girls’ High Schools aims to achieve just that.
After taking a break last year due to Covid›19, the programme has returned with a twist. This year, the community will be able to view all 20 videos the school pupils produce.
Each school had teams of year 9 and 10 pupils, who created 90›second videos on the theme of respectful relationships.
Stronger Waitaki community development co›ordinator Yvonne Avis said the pupils had produced some powerful videos.
‘‘They’ve been really engaged with the topic and their ideas are not what an adult would come up with,’’ Ms Avis said.
‘‘It’s been really eye›opening actually that they come up with some really amazing ideas, really thoughtful.’’
The programme has been running since 2017, and isthe brainchild of former St Kevin’s College principal and Stronger Waitaki chairman Paul Olsen and Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru police.
In New Zealand, about 100,000 family harm incidents are reported to police each year. But just 20% of all family harm incidents are reported to police. ‘‘That means we’ve got a huge problem. We lead the developed countries in violence to people we’re supposed to love,’’ Snr Sgt McCoy said.
‘‘We talk about national statistics, but on a percentage, Waitaki’s no different, so it is happening in our communities.’’
Having youth advocating for respectful relationships made a real difference, he said.
‘‘By creating awareness and some ideas around respectful relationships can bode well for reducing family harm in the future in Waitaki.’’
Stronger Waitaki community development manager Helen Algar said it was exciting to bring the videos to the community and showcase the pupils’ work.
The community viewing at the Oamaru Opera House will be held on May 27, at 6.30pm.