Boxer out to give violence the bash

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013
family violence
ROBERT CHARLES/FAIRFAX
STAND UP: From left, Taranaki Safe Families Trust co-ordinator Callum Williamson, manager of community development at NPDC Leighton Littlewood, police family violence co-ordinator Dave Beattie, and ITM general manager Graeme Moller.

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Boxer Sam "The Terror" Rapira says he's proud to make a stand against family violence.

The married father of three said he was keen to appear with other Taranaki personalities on new anti-violence billboards around New Plymouth.

Being a boxer, he said some people might question his involvement in the campaign.

"People might think that that is a violent sport but it is a sport and that's something that's completely different from the home," he said.

Rapira said the boxing ring was a controlled environment where a fighter had to control his anger and frustration.

He urged anyone finding themselves losing control to take a break and remove themselves from the situation.

"I don't know what the PC advice would be but I would say go outside and take 10 deep breaths or try to talk to somebody that can help you with some advice on what to do."

Detective Sergeant Dave Beattie, family violence co-ordinator, said the festive season and summer holiday was time to enjoy being with family and friends, relax and take stock of the year but it didn't always happen that way.

"Violence in the home escalates over Christmas and January," Mr Beattie said.

"Calls to police increase as family situations get out of control.

For New Plymouth Police this will mean 30 family violence incidents being attended each week with about half of those involving children and many involving too much alcohol."

Mr Beattie said the new billboards, that went up last month, were becoming a talking point around the town and he was pleased with the support from local businesses and the New Plymouth District Council.

"I couldn't have got this off the ground without the sponsorship from businesses in the community."

The other identities featured on the billboards are ultra distance runner Lisa Tamati, TV weatherman Jim Hickey, TV presenter Toni Street and boxer Thea Awhitu.

Graeme Moller, ITM New Plymouth, said he jumped at the chance to be involved with the initiative and raise awareness of family violence.

NPDC community development manager Leighton Littlewood said the council believed in strong, healthy families.

"We promote the message of violence-free homes within the organisation and so we're happy to support this initiative to show that New Plymouth is a community that will work proactively and positively to create a violence-free environment."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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