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  • Writer's pictureKia Haumaru

Invercargill hosts Women's Self Defence Network national training event

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

A group of women keen on teaching girls self defence have descended on Invercargill as the city plays host to a Women's Self Defence Network national training event.

The group of 11 women selected from throughout the country arrived in Invercargill on Friday for an eight-day training course for women's self defence instructors.

Network chairwoman Allison Broad said the women would spend more than a week learning how to teach self defence courses to Year 6 and 7 girls.

"It is focusing on teaching self defence to girls of intermediate school age. That's the single biggest age group we teach."

The instructor course was the first major step the women would take to becoming instructors in a process that would last about 18 months, Broad said.

The 11 women who are taking part in the course have gone through a selection process with formal interviews, background checks and a preselection training before they were invited to the teacher training course, she said.

"They're all people with an understanding of the issues of violence and abuse and really want to work with women and girls to ... give more information and skills, so people can live life safe from abuse and violence."

In the 21 years the network has been running the Girls' Self Defence Project, the organisation has trained more than 140,000 girls.

The demand for women's self defence courses outstripped the teaching capacity the network had, Broad said.

The organisation had a steady stream of inquires coming in from throughout the country from women who were interested in becoming instructors. However, the network did not have the resources to train instructors every year.

"It's a major investment of our time and resource to do this training."

The last time the organisation ran a teacher training event was in 2013.

Southland had a close association with the network as the first teacher training event was held in Riverton in 1988, Broad said.

Some of the key people in the organisation were based in Southland, she said.

"There's been more training programmes run in the Otago/Southland area than anywhere else."

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