Community protest against domestic abuse

'We need to stand strong, to come together'

FLORENCE KERR
Last updated 07:57 26/06/2014
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

Anti-violence protesters marched from Hamilton's Bridge street to Garden Place today to raise awareness of family violence.

Hamilton residents marched down Victoria Street
AGAINST VIOLENCE: Hamilton residents marched down Victoria Street yesterday to urge people to take action against domestic abuse.

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A photograph of a smiling baby nestled in the arms of his koro led a march against violence in Hamilton.

The image is all that remains of the Hamilton 8-month-old who died last week from a head injury.

Cradling his moko's photo, the baby's koro told the Waikato Times that the family decided to take part in the march to support the "kaupapa".

They had a message for those who lash out violently against their family.

"Think before you act. Just think before you act that's all. Sometimes you look at it and it's not worth it; look what happens."

He said the whanau was "taking it one step at a time" as they cope with the grief of losing their beloved moko.

A 33-year-old man has been charged with murder in connection with the baby's death.

The man was granted interim name suppression, which prohibits the Times from revealing details, including the name of the baby and his grandfather.

The march, organised by Hamilton Abuse Intervention Programme (HAIP), was aimed at encouraging people to speak out when they see or hear violence of all types.

HAIP general manager Laila Jones said people close to those suffering know when abuse is happening.

"This is a call to the community that we need to stand strong, we need to come together. They say it's ok to ask for help, but are we offering it."

Jones said family violence happened across all levels of the socio-economic scale and all ethnicities.

Te Whakaruruhau Maori Women's Refuge manager Ruahine Albert told the crowd to stand up and be counted when it came to reporting family violence.

"Too many deaths could have been prevented if someone had said something . . . it takes a strong person to walk that mark and be able to tell someone."

florence.kerr@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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