District Project: The Sophie Elliott Foundation (SEF)
The Sophie Elliott Foundation (SEF) was selected as the Zonta District Project for the 2014-2016 biennium. Clubs voted to continue this project in the 2016-2018 biennium.
Following the death of Sophie Elliott at the hands of ex-boyfriend Clayton Weatherston, it soon became apparent that her five-month-long relationship had been an abusive one. This led Sophie’s mother Lesley to research the phenomenon to determine why she and Sophie didn’t recognise the signs. The Foundation was formed with the aim of violence prevention through education, awareness and empowerment of young women.
SEF joined the New Zealand Police and the It’s Not OK Campaign to implement a full-day workshop for year 12 students called Loves-Me-Not. The workshops allow students (boys and girls) to examine what behaviours constitute a healthy (equal) relationship as opposed to an unhealthy (controlling) one. Effective bystander strategies and where to seek help are also featured.
SEF has taken on the responsibility of providing quality audio/visual resources for Loves-Me-Not along with a book based around Sophie’s story. The book “Love Me Not – How to Keep Relationships safe” will be offered to students completing the workshops in schools. Zonta District 16’s support will enable the printing of the book and possibly some of the video resources.