In 2008, the horrific murder of Sophie Elliott by her former boyfriend and university lecturer, Clayton Weatherston, shocked New Zealand. 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 many others.
It became obvious that education was the key; Lesley set up the Sophie Elliott Foundation to raise awareness among all young women, their friends and families to the signs of partner abuse.
The Loves Me Not programme was developed by the Sophie Elliott Foundation along with the New Zealand Police and members of the Ministry of Social Development. Its primary aim is to help young people help themselves to keep safe. 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, as well as a chapter written by school guidance counsellor, Gayna McConnell.