Part of the 170-strong schoolteacher group who attended the Safer Families inaugural workshops. Photo credit Selwyn District Council

Safer Families group formed

by Mike Isle

Selwyn now has a Safer Families group, an initiative of the Selwyn District Council and Canterbury Police aimed at reducing family harm in the district.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Cottam, who is area prevention officer for rural Canterbury, said police played a pivotal role in first identifying family harm incidents and then using the resources of the Safer Families group to assign agencies to take appropriate action.

“Our object as frontline police is to assess the risk, assess the need and work with Safer Families to see what short and long-term help we can give.”

He said police would allocate four staff to support the Selwyn Safer Families group.

Selwyn Safer Families came about after discussions between police and the council and is a sub-group of the council’s wellbeing forum, which brings together social and health service providers in the district.

Recently it organised workshops in Rolleston and Darfield, which saw 170 schoolteachers learn the skills of recognise, response and referral for identifying and addressing harm in our community. West Rolleston School deputy principal Amanda Clarkson attended the Rolleston workshop and said it was an eye-opener and very positive and helpful.

“It was really informative. It’s good for us to have learnt what to be looking out for, realising the little things. The big thing was knowing there is going to be support from police out here in Selwyn that we can access, and they can come and work with our teachers.”

Council community services and facilities group manager Denise Kidd said the council was delighted by the response to the workshops and the support being offered by police and the Selwyn Safer Families group.

“Selwyn is a better place when we have a strong community that looks after each other.

“The work of Selwyn Safer Families is an important way to make that happen, and it’s fantastic to see the community embracing that.”