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February 2009
 
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Rugby players tackle domestic violence

Hurricane John Schwalger shows children at Lalomanu School how it’s done.

Wellington rugby stars joined forces with New Zealand Police in Samoa last year for a campaign against domestic violence.

The campaign was a part of the work of the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP) run by Police in five Pacific nations.

Ten members of the Hurricanes and Lions teams endorsed the message “Break the Silence, End the Violence”, taking it into villages and schools throughout Samoa during the visit in November.

 

 

Programme Manager for the PPDVP, Cam Ronald said the collaboration with Wellington rugby was a first for the PPDVP and Police.

“It was a groundbreaking partnership between the two organisations and was an enormous success for everyone involved,” says Cam.

The players, many with strong family ties in Samoa, were there as part of a personal development trip taken during their off-season.

Wellington players Arden David-Perrot (left) and Robert Fruean look on as Lalomanu School children perform a rousing haka.

Photos: Fatu Tauafiafi

The success of the project and the partnership prompted Police Commissioner Howard Broad to commend the players with a certificate of appreciation for their participation. The certificate was presented to the players earlier this month.

“The players made a huge impact wherever they went,” Cam says. “We were impressed with both their professional commitment to this project and their willingness to interact with people and talk about domestic violence.”

“These young men are role models both here and in the Pacific and it was a fantastic opportunity for us to have them supporting the domestic violence message while in Samoa.”

The programme was supported by the Ministry of Police and Prisons in Samoa.

(Back row from left): High Commissioner for Samoa, Asi Blakelock; Hurricanes professional development manager, Steve Symonds; Hurricanes assistant coach, Alama Ieremia; Api Naikatini; Piri Weepu; Arden David-Perrot; John Schwalger; Victor Vito; Neemia Tialata; Police Commissioner Howard Broad.
Front row: Kim Woon (PPDVP); Jane Archibald; Inspector Karen Smith.
Kneeling: David Smith; Buxton Popoalii; Anthony Perenise.

Photo: Anna Woolnough

One of the aims of the campaign was to raise awareness about the Police Domestic Violence Unit now operating in Samoa.

New Zealand Police’s domestic violence mentor for Samoa, Inspector Karen Smith worked closely with the Wellington Rugby Football Union and Samoan Police to ensure that aim was achieved.

The players also made a series of three advertisements while they were there that will run on Samoan television during the high profile Super 14 season games. The PPDVP is funded through NZAID and run by New Zealand Police.

Its aim is to increase the capability of police in the Pacific to prevent and deal with domestic violence.

Five Pacific countries are involved in the programme at participating country level: Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu.

Nauru, Niue, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Tokelau are at a lesser “linked country” level.

Seven police domestic violence mentors are involved in the programme.

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