It’s not Right to Fight - 9 October 2015

A group of Otago students has mounted a campaign against flatting violence with the slogan ‘It’s not Right to Fight’.

Working with the Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence, the group has identified particular behaviours and dynamics that happen between flatmates, that are types of family violence.

The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act covers violence in all intimate and family relationships, including flatting.

The campaign has been developed by occupational therapy students as part of their studies.

“The motivation for the project was that for many young people 'flatting' is an important transition between living at home (where they learn how family relationships work) and building their own families, where they get to practice how they have learned to interact with family members,” Spokesperson for the Dunedin Collaboration Rob Thomson said.

“As such, it is an ideal 'window of opportunity' to intervene with those who have grown up with family violence, and show them ways of having relationships based on trust and support.”

Worrying behaviours include threatening, physical violence and ganging up on or isolating a flatmate.

This includes:

  • Refusing to cook with someone
  • Walking out of the room when they walk in
  • Verbal abuse and put downs.

The students have made a video and set up a Facebook page at

Dr Thomson saidconflicts involved with flatting were an issue for many people, not just students and it was great to see it being brought out into the open.

For more information contact Dr Thomson at

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