Remember this? Family violence is a crime

It’s 1994 and punching your wife was not so much a crime as ‘just a domestic’. Times have changed—kind of. There’s just as much punching these days but at least it’s called what it is: family violence. And a multichannel, multiple partner campaign by The Police which won the Supreme Award and the not-for-profit category at the 1995 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards helped lay the foundations for what it hoped would be a better, safer country.

Back in the 1990s, the New Zealand Police were thoroughly sick of seeing such violence swept under the carpet. Rather than just complain to the media or the law courts, the Police took to the discipline of ‘social marketing’ to change perceptions and start the ball rolling on locking up the perpetrators.

The proposition was simple: ‘Family violence is a crime – call for help’.

The campaign itself was novel. Led by veteran copper Inspector Rob Veale, the project was launched at the Beehive to coincide with the International Year of the Family and consisted of two documentaries screened on TVNZ that were hosted by Tem Morrison (fresh from Once were Warriors fame as the abusive Jake Heke) and a TV, print and poster advertising campaign with an 0800 helpline

The partners were CarterHolt Harvey (which provided $250,000 for the TV shows), TVNZ which provided $950,000 in media time and NZ on Air. The Police spent $1.75 million. The Police also hooked up with agencies such as Women’s Refuge and Victim’s Support.

The result? Exceptional. Reports of ‘male assaults female’ went up 44 percent; as many men were prosecuted in 1994 as were reported in 1993; other family violence reports increased, but simultaneously other crimes such as robbery fell by 10 percent; armed Offender call outs fell for the first time in ten years; Women’s Refuge case work increased 35 percent; men’s non-violence groups grew 50 percent; and perceptions around family violence increased too, with unprompted awareness reached 91 percent a year after the campaign was launched.

Inspector Veale summed it up: “We achived the hardest thing to do, a change in behavbiour. New Zealand is no longer the same country.”

Who said marketing was evil?

So if you want to be remembered, enter your campaigns here.


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