SHARE

Police are again partnering with Cromwell College and Dunstan High School to run the to run the Loves Me Not programme in June.

This full-day workshop has already run in Wakatipu High School and Mount Aspiring College this year, and this is the fourth year that we have offered the programme to Central Otago high schools.

Family harm and relationship abuse is one of New Zealand’s biggest social and criminal issues. Prevention education activities are key to turning around our statistics, as the next generations enter relationships.

Loves Me Not is a “whole-school approach” to prevent abusive behaviour in relationships. It was developed by police in conjunction with the Sophie Elliott Foundation and the Ministry of Social Development, and the primary aim is to help young people keep safe.

The workshop day is for all year 12 pupils and is led by police, together with school staff and local youth workers.

It is fantastic to be involved with a positive programme that provides not only information and support, but a platform for pupils to carry on the conversation outside of the classroom. – Constable Tamah Alley

Loves Me Not has key focus areas, including exploring the qualities of good relationships, recognising early signs of relationship abuse (not just physical abuse) and knowing when, if and how to be a safe and active bystander.

While the programme came about through the tragedy of Sophie Elliott’s death (Sophie was murdered in Dunedin in 2008), the workshop is about positive actions and change, and includes a section where pupils can access help or information, whether for themselves or to support a friend. All students also receive a free copy of Loves Me Not: how to keep relationships safe and I encourage them all to take it home even if they don’t want to read it right now.

The workshop day is really enjoyable for me personally – I love being in the classroom and sharing stories and ideas with teens.

Today’s parents, along with schools and police, are competing with the internet and media to educate our kids about relationships; so many of the important points and signs can be missed.

It is fantastic to be involved with a positive programme that provides not only information and support, but a platform for pupils to carry on the conversation outside of the classroom.

If any parents would like a copy of the book for their teen who may have missed the day or left school already, please contact me as I have spares: tamah.alley@police.govt.nz