Loves-Me-Not Relationship Education
Loves-Me-Not uses a whole school approach and a one-day workshop for
Year 12 students to explore healthy relationships and the sometimes difficult
subject of relationship abuse and consent.
Following the death of Sophie at the hands of a former boyfriend it
became clear that she had been in a typically abusive relationship. It was also
evident that neither Sophie nor her mother, Lesley, had been able to see where
things were going wrong. The conclusion was that if these two intelligent
adults couldn’t see the signs then many others would be in the same situation.
A foundation was formed in Sophie’s name aimed at lowering the levels of
domestic violence through education. In 2013 the Sophie Elliott Foundation
partnered with the New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Social Development to
Loves-Me-Not in your school
If your school would like to consider Loves-Me-Not,
you can contact your Police School Community Officer. More Information about
implementing Loves-Me-Not can be found on the Police School
Portal or view this film made for parents of students about to attend a workshop.
Intent and purpose
The long-term outcome sought from Loves-Me-Not is that young people live
their lives free from the harm of unhealthy and abusive relationships.
Loves-Me-Not focuses on healthy (equal) relationships as opposed to
unhealthy (controlling) ones. Through education, young people are able to
- if they are in an abusive relationship, and how to get help before it
becomes more difficult to leave
- if any of their behaviours are abusive and controlling, and get help to
change these behaviours before they harm someone
- the early signs of abuse and make early choices to reject abusive
Insidious behaviour is often dismissed during the early stages of a
relationship, when things are new and exciting. However, once someone has taken
the power away from another person, it is often very difficult for the victim
to get out. Therefore, in Loves-Me-Not students:
- explore qualities of good relationships
- recognise early signs of relationship abuse
- understand sexual consent, what it means, and why they need it
- apply critical thinking about who is advantaged by societal myths, and
how these myths may perpetuate relationship abuse and acts of sexual abuse
- explore if, when and how to be an active bystander
- are encouraged to 'take action for change' for themselves, their friends
and family, and the wider community to have safer communities together.
Loves-Me-Not is a whole school approach to positive relationships. It
includes a one-day Year 12 workshop that has been designed to engage young
people in the qualities of positive relationships and relationship abuse.
The workshop component of Loves-Me-Not is delivered by up to three
facilitators trained by Police. The facilitators comprise a teacher, a police
officer and can include a representative of a non-governmental organisation
working in the field of family violence prevention. The workshop is linked to
the NZ Curriculum so that schools and students are still achieving educational
outcomes, whilst looking at an important social issue.
The workshop is incorporated into a whole school approach that enables a
culture of respectful relationships in the school community.
Loves-Me-Not provides opportunities for students to plan and take action
themselves to influence their school and wider community to prevent abuse.
Loves-Me-Not is a partnership.
provides personnel to train and deliver the workshop and Police maintains the
quality of the content.
- The Sophie Elliott Foundation develops quality audio
visual resources, print materials and actively promotes Loves-Me-Not in
- Schools modify the school timetable to allow the workshop to occur
and follow up the workshop with ongoing learning opportunities for the
- NGOs provide practical experience of the support services available
in the community.
The Sophie Elliott Foundation has provided a range of resources for
Loves-Me-Not, including videos and short vignettes that are used during the
workshop, for example to explore qualities of a good relationship, and the
factors that could erode it. Also included is a film designed for parents that
explains how Loves-Me-Not works.
Lesley Elliott has written a book with William J O’Brien based around
Sophie’s story, which shows how to recognise signs of abuse, and provides strategies
to cope. The book is supplied free of charge to students undertaking Loves-Me-Not,
and can be used in future years to give young people sound advice. The book is
published by Penguin Random House New Zealand and printed through sponsorship
by Zonta. Please see below for more information about the Loves-Me-Not book.
Loves-Me-Not: An essential guide for keeping relationships safe
In 2008, the horrific murder of Sophie Elliott by her former boyfriend
and university tutor, Clayton Weatherston, shocked the nation. During the
police investigation it became clear Sophie's murderer was a typical abuser who
had a track record of treating partners badly.
Sophie's mother, Lesley Elliott, driven to research domestic and partner abuse,
was astonished to find the very characteristics evident in abusive
relationships were right there in Sophie's. Lesley quickly realised that if she
and Sophie, ‘through ignorance and naivety' missed the signs, then so could
International research suggested education was the key; Lesley set up the
Sophie Elliott Foundation to raise awareness among all young people, their
friends and families to the signs of partner abuse.
Loves-Me-Not includes advice and suggestions on how to identify
problems, how to deal with them and where to seek help.
Also included is ‘One for the Boys', a chapter written by well-known clinical
psychologist and commentator, Nigel Latta.
‘If you think you are unsafe, then you probably are.'
In July 2014 the Sophie Elliott Foundation signed a memorandum of
understanding with Zonta International District 16. This was a very
important moment as it secured a partnership between us and Zonta that will
enable Lesley’s book Loves-Me-Not to be offered free of charge to students
completing the Loves-Me-Not workshops. The Sophie Elliott Foundation is
truly grateful to the 28 Zonta Clubs nationwide who pledged to carry out
fundraising for book purchases over their 2014/2016 biennium project period.
Clubs voted to continue on with this project for 2016 to 2018.
Zonta International is a global organisation of 30,000 members in
business and professions working together to empower women through service and
advocacy. There are 28 clubs in New Zealand from Northland to Otago. To find
out more about Zonta go to the NZ website: www.zonta.org.nz or the Zonta
International website: www.zonta.org
One News – May 7, 2013
Campbell Live – September 27, 2013
Dunedin Television - February 25, 2014
3 News - March 28, 2014