• Porirua College singers to lead the anthem at the next All Blacks test
    Because those young women can sing! But not only that. Tiresa, Rosetta and Anastasia are young people from Porirua who will be able to represent us all on the national stage at one of the biggest sporting events this year. They can show the strength, diversity and real-ness of our young people. Who usually gets to decide who represents us? Just imagine, this could become one of *those* stories that captures the public mood. Where we're able, through our signatures, infiltrate the height of a professional sporting event (and all the pageantry that goes with an All Blacks test match) with raw, talented and classy people like these 3 young singers. And this isn't to dis' the professional singers that NZ Rugby usually use at test matches. It's a chance for NZ Rugby to show its community-minded side, and to give an opportunity for these young, talented school students from Porirua to shine on a global stage - a real authentic voice of young New Zealand. Represent! "The richness and beauty that's in their voices is part of the richness and beauty of this community." - Porirua College principal Ragne Maxwell Check them out: https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018651010/porirua-students-version-of-nz-national-anthem-goes-viral Porirua teens say key to good anthem is 'sing it with pride', Stuff, 28 June: https://bit.ly/2tAEXtC
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  • Let's reform homosexual laws in Samoa
    A reform of these sections in the Crimes Act is important because gay rights = human rights. People should be able to love, free of judgement and potential persecution. Polynesia has been sexually diverse for many years and, before colonisation and Christianity, was accepted as apart of the norm. No one should have a permanent criminal conviction, simply for loving who they want to. These laws do not reflect well on the progressive nature of young Samoans today, along with future generations and this inflexible view of sexuality is non-inclusive, discriminatory and extremely conservative. A reform would mean our LGBTQ+ peers are more protected from discrimination and would have the ability to love freely. We understand that, typically, when laws change, mindsets do as well and therefore are asking the Samoan Government to reform these laws to grant this change. Crimes Act PDF for reference: http://www.palemene.ws/new/wp-content/uploads//01.Acts/Acts%202013/Crimes_Act_2013_-_Eng.pdf
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  • Create a framework for Therapeutic Villages
    Great people in mental heath and community agencies do good work (often with not enough funding) but then they need to terminate once they have done all they can in their specialty. e.g. Counselling for someone who has no home to go to. Then people return to their old problematic ways. This can happen in addiction, domestic violence and mental health, child support. e.g. Mother and baby are now well bonded after specialist care, but there is conflict with the father and poverty. Isolation creates despair and harms people. "it takes a village to raise a child". The proposal is that a framework is developed by government for the establishment of a series of therapeutic villages. Such villages will support families and individuals who are already receiving a variety of care. They can also perform a preventative function. In essence the therapeutic village is group of people with strong bonds developed through shared significant experiences. Village cohesion comes through clearly defined village membership, village traditions of group work, village sports and cultural events, and the organic development of relationships between new and older members. On admission members will commit to attend regular meetings of the whole village. Each village has its own character, based on its location, formation and the strengths of the leadership team. Each village will have its own name. The form these villages take will be quite diverse. With respect to pragmatic details there are many decisions to be made by the village initiators and the staff. Questions such as: What is the duration of the village membership? How are people encouraged to re-enter their original community? Are dependent on the purpose of the village at its initial conception and how the village evolves in practice.
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  • Make mindfulness a central strategy for mental wellbeing in Aotearoa NZ
    Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”. – Jon Kabat Zinn (Professor of Medicine Emeritus Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine). Evidence both here and overseas shows that, when practiced over time, mindfulness: - Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression (1) - Increases mental wellbeing (2) - Leads to measurable changes in brain structure (3) - Improves concentration (4) - Improves emotion regulation and empathy skills (5) - Helps with the development of positive relationships (6). Based on this evidence, we recommend that mindfulness is included as a central strategy within the diverse sectors of society that impact on our mental wellbeing. MINDFULNESS IS EFFECTIVE The biggest threats to the health of New Zealanders may no longer be injuries or infections (7). Many of today’s stressors target instead our mental health, like the increasing bombardment of information from digital technology that can leave people feeling overwhelmed and disconnected (8). Mindfulness is an effective antidote to this stress. The benefits of regular mindfulness practice provide people with the core strengths and competencies they need to thrive in a modern world. The people behind this submission feel passionately about mindfulness not only because of the robust science behind it but because of our own lived experiences. It has transformed each of our lives in different ways, for example in recovery from post-natal depression and in overcoming negative childhood experiences, and we’ve seen it touch so many others in amazing ways. While it's not a panacea - it needs to be implemented alongside other approaches - we believe it is a crucial part of a raft of changes that would benefit the mental wellbeing of all New Zealanders, and can be implemented across many sectors of society that impact this (9). For example, there is evidence for effective mindfulness-based interventions in prevention, promotion and/or treatment in the following sectors: - Education: Mindfulness boosts cognitive performance, improves mental health and wellbeing and builds resilience (10, 11). - Workplaces: Mindfulness reduces burnout, increases wellbeing, resilience, ability to handle stress, improved relationships, enhances collaboration, and improves leadership, decision-making and creativity (12). - Healthcare: Mindfulness reduces burnout, enhances empathy, and improves the therapeutic relationship in healthcare professionals (13). - Mental Health: Mindfulness based interventions are effective with a range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, pain, smoking cessation (14), and substance and behavioural addictions (15). - Criminal Justice: Mindfulness reduces violence in prisons, reoffending rates, as well as negative emotionality, drug use and associated attitudes in prisoners (preliminary research) (16). - Early childhood and parenting: Reflecting research showing the first 1000 days of life is crucial in growing healthy adults (17), mindful parenting programmes are suggested as a preventative approach that can enhance parent-child relationships (18), and preliminary evidence suggests that parental mindfulness reduces stress in children (19). This Government is pioneering in its approach to wellbeing, as shown by initiatives like the Living Standards Framework being adopted by Treasury, and the 2019 Wellbeing Budget. As part of this, there is an opportunity for New Zealand to capitalise on recent advances in mindfulness research to benefit New Zealanders’ mental wellbeing in the digital age, and lead the world in this regard. Together we can make Aotearoa a world leader in mental wellbeing. Help to make MINDFULNESS A CENTRAL STRATEGY of the Government’s approach to mental wellbeing for a flourishing Aotearoa NZ: Sign the Open Submission. Members of Mandate for Mindfulness Working Group: Brigid O’Brien, MBChB, MPH, FNZCPHM, Public Health Physician Natasha Rix, BSocSc, Director Strategy and Operations, Mindfulness Education Group Nick Laurence, BA (Hons), Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Candidate Caroline Taylor, LLB, BCA, Public Policy and Management Consultant Reference list can be found here: goo.gl/fj65Yi
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  • Fund Mental Skills Training for All Children and Young People in Aotearoa New Zealand
    Latest data shows New Zealand ranks 34th out of 41 countries regarding overall childhood wellbeing. Our adolescent suicide rate is the highest among developed nations. (1) Antidepressant medication being prescribed to children under 13 years in New Zealand has increased 79.4 percent since 2006, and increased 101.9 percent among teens aged 14-18 during the same time period. (2) Recent analysis has shown that increased smartphone and tablet usage corresponds with increased feelings of loneliness, decreasing levels of sleep and decreased social interactions among young people, leading some experts to comment that we are on the brink of a major mental health crisis among children and young people. (3) NZ school children, teachers and youth services staff are not receiving the support they need due to an absence of funding for evidence-based and proven programmes such as Pause, Breathe, Smile and ATAWHAI. EVIDENCE-BASED, AOTEAROA-DEVELOPED SOLUTIONS Pause, Breathe, Smile and ATAWHAI have a combined highly positive impact for young New Zealanders across a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. This includes: - mainstream primary, intermediate and high schools - Māori and Pasifika tamariki and rangatahi - schools with high ethnic diversity - children impacted by the Canterbury earthquakes - marginalised youth dealing with anxiety and depression - youth in alternative education and youth justice Both programmes are being translated into Te Reo Māori with a focus on applications and research in partnership with iwi and within Kura Kaupapa Māori settings. Pause, Breathe, Smile aligns with the New Zealand Education Curriculum, making it easy for schools to implement. It is supported by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and has an internationally recognised published evidence base of effectiveness. ATAWHAI is a youth mentoring and mindfulness-based programme that has resulted in transformational change among high-priority youth. Research (4,5,6), and evaluation results of these programmes show children and young people experience: - Increased calm and resilience - Increased focus and attention - Enhanced self-awareness and conflict-resolution skills - Increased kindness, empathy, connection and pro-social behaviour - Statistically significant increases in emotional and general wellbeing Teachers, youth mentors and program facilitators also report reductions in stress. These findings add to the international evidence base, which shows that when taught in schools, mindfulness boosts cognitive performance and builds resilience (7). Please sign now to recommend funding for these programmes. Together we can boost the wellbeing of our nation’s young people, ensuring they’re equipped with awesome mental skills to thrive and not just survive in the face of a rapidly changing, uncertain world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s_nkIo3TwM&t=64s https://youtu.be/ABoQdxBFnss ABOUT US: Mindfulness Education Group: https://www.mindfulnesseducation.nz The Kindness Institute: http://thekindnessinstitute.com REFERENCES: (1) UNICEF (2017). Building the Future - Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy. (2) Wiggins, Amy. Number of children and teens on anti-depressants doubles. New Zealand Herald. 7 June 2017: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11870484 (3) Twenge, Jean M. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic. September 2017: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/ (4) Rix G and Bernay R (2014) A study of the effects of mindfulness in five primary schools in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, Volume 11, Issue 2, 201-220. (5) Devcich D A, Rix G, Bernay R & Graham E (2017). Effectiveness of a mindfulness-based program on school children’s self-reported well-being: A pilot study comparing effects with an emotional literacy program. Journal of Applied School Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15377903.2017.1316333 (6) Bernay R, Esther Graham, Daniel A. Devcich, Grant Rix & Christine M. Rubie-Davies (2016): Pause, Breathe, Smile: a mixed-methods study of student wellbeing following participation in an eight-week, locally developed mindfulness program in three New Zealand schools, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, DOI:10.1080/1754730X.2016.1154474. (7) Zenner C, Herrnleben-Kurz S and Walach H (2014) Mindfulness-based interventions in schools—a systematic review and meta-analysis. Front. Psychol. 5:603. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00603
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  • Open access to a full menu of services: Public submission to the Mental Health Inquiry
    The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction is now open to public submissions on how New Zealand’s approach to mental health and addiction needs to change. The People’s Mental Health Report [1] and other sources show that people and their whānau who experience stress, distress and addiction widely agree: • New Zealand’s social conditions can undermine wellbeing for some people. • The service system responds poorly to the needs of people with mental distress and addiction – with difficult access, a narrow range of responses and poor outcomes. To achieve open access to comprehensive range of responses, the government needs to commit to seven wellbeing priorities across the spectrum – to prevent, respond to, and lessen the impact of mental distress and addiction: • We live in social conditions that enable us to look after our own and each other’s wellbeing. • We know how to recognise and respond to stress, distress and addiction. • We can easily find services and supports for people with distress and addiction. • We get timely, respectful and helpful responses from them. • We have access to a comprehensive range of community-based services and supports. • We are supported by people who have ‘walked in our shoes’, as well as professionals. • They support us to reconnect with ourselves, our whānau and valued roles in our communities. To meet these priorities, the government needs to redesign the system: • All the sectors that have responsibility for wellbeing, distress and addiction - such as health, social development, justice, corrections and education: → Jointly fund services, support and opportunities at the local level. → Provide responses for people’s social, economic, psychological, spiritual and health needs. → Co-deliver the responses in community settings, such as primary health, marae, workplaces, and online. • Māori design and deliver services for Māori. • There is a major expansion of the peer and cultural workforces. • The system is accountable to the people for the fulfilment of the seven wellbeing priorities. The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction gives us a rare opportunity to be part of a world-leading transformation. 'More of the same' will not fix the problem but open access to a comprehensive range of services will improve wellbeing and save lives. Please support open access to a comprehensive range of services by signing on to this Open Submission. To find out more, or read the full submission, The Wellbeing Manifesto for Aotearoa New Zealand, go to: https://www.wellbeingmanifesto.nz/ For more on the Review see: https://www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz For info on PeerZone go to: https://www.peerzone.info/ 1 - The People’s Mental Health Report: https://www.peoplesmentalhealthreport.com
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  • Free Counselling for all Kiwis: Open Submission to the Mental Health Review
    “Depression and anxiety account for more of the misery in Western Societies than physical illness does … So the front line in the fight against misery is the fight against mental illness.”[1] Counselling and talk therapy is a highly effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety[2], and in many cases should be the first treatment offered. Yet despite this, it is not widely available and as a result many New Zealanders are not receiving adequate treatment for their mental health difficulties. Frustration with how hard it was to access talk therapy and counselling was one of the most common concerns expressed in the People’s Mental Health Review[3], with many saying they wanted to access talk therapy but were unable to due to cost and availability. https://youtu.be/X_80Zzl23YA Providing Free Counselling and Talk Therapy will enable more people to access treatment earlier, and as a result will take pressure off specialised psychiatric services, already overwhelmed. We know that treatment outcomes for all mental health problems are significantly improved by access to treatment earlier. Improved access to talk therapy and counselling will save money and save lives. With New Zealand having one of the highest levels of suicide in the OECD, we should be doing everything we can to provide treatment for those struggling with their mental health. While many will express concern about the envisioned cost of such an approach, a widely cited WHO-led 2016 study[4] showed, ‘Every US$ 1 invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of US$ 4 in better health and ability to work’. Far from being a “pie in the sky” idea, fully funded counselling and talk therapy has been introduced in other countries, most notably in the UK via the “Increased Access to Psychological Therapies” or “IAPT” initiative. The growing recognition of the impact of the burden of mental health has meant many other nations are looking at how to implement such schemes. Let’s make Aotearoa a world leader in the provision of mental health care. Sign the Open Submission to support the call for Free Counselling and Talk Therapy for all Kiwis. 1. Layard, R and Clark, D. “Thrive: the Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies” (2014). Penguin Books 2. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/psychotherapy-effective.aspx 3. https://www.peoplesmentalhealthreport.com 4. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2016/depression-anxiety-treatment/en/
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  • We need more healthy, affordable housing in Palmerston North
    I am adding my support to this campaign because I know someone, or I am aware there are people in Palmerston North who, sometime in the last 12 months, have been in one of the following situations: - Been without shelter, (‘sleeping rough’); - Been sleeping in a car or vehicle; - Been in temporary accommodation or in a motel; - Been living with another household (‘couch surfing’); - Been living in an overcrowded situation (More than 2 people per bedroom); - Been living in a home that is unhealthy (cold, damp or without necessary services) Poor and unstable housing can make people sick, make it harder for kids to learn and impacts communities as people are forced to move around. Good, stable housing has great health and education outcomes and makes for better communities. Check out these links for more about Palmerston North housing: About the 10 Year plan - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/103156209/palmerston-north-council-draws-fire-for-housing-renthike-plan Public Health and Housing - http://www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz/vdb/document/196 The Salvation Army - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/97902244/no-romance-in-being-14-hours-homeless-for-roving-reporter Homes for People - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/96058685/action-helps-people-buy-affordable-houses MUSA - https://i.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/96110425/fighting-for-better-housing-in-manawatu The Salvation Army - https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/92977406/budget-bolsters-welfare-but-what-about-housing
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  • Save The CAMHS Crisis Team
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9eDFYFgZxs The NMDHB has decided to get rid of the 24/7 specialist dedicated CAMHS crisis team. The CAMHS crisis team is run by our local CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service). It is a crisis line that young people can call any time of day or night and one of the CAMHS staff (with at least two years of specialist training) will help that young person if they are in crisis, for example, at risk of suicide. The crisis team will meet the young person face to face if need be, alert any relevant emergency services and provide support for the family of the young person as well. The DHB in Nelson wants to run the dedicated CAMHS crisis team only during the day time. They want the after hours service to be covered by the adult crisis team. This is how Child and Adolescent crisis is handled in the rest of the country where the suicide rates are much higher. Some of the current CAMHS staff have had two years specialist training in how to deal with children and adolescents needing mental health support. Concerns were raised staff in the all ages team would not have the same level of expertise. [1] This is the only dedicated CAMHS crisis team in the country and over the 20 years that this team has been going, there have only been two suicides in the age band the team serves. This is much lower than anywhere else in the country.[2] While the health board has allocated more funding to services to help those with mild to moderate depression, there could sometimes be a wait of up to six weeks before the person was seen.[3] Removing the CAMHS crisis team is highly likely to result in more youth suicides in the Nelson area. This is contrary to the stated aims of the government to reduce youth suicides. Removing a service that saves lives for no clinically sound reason is a breach of human rights. We need the public of Nelson and New Zealand to stand up for its young people. 1 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/100588811/no-youth-mental-health-specialists-in-afterhours-service 2 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/96418545/mental-health-crisis-services-restructured-in-nelson-marlborough 3 - https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/95099356/dhb-restructure-could-put-youth-in-mental-health-crisis-at-further-risk http://nelsonweekly.co.nz/2018/04/mental-health-silence-slap-in-the-face/
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  • Ban Pro-Gun education from pre-schools
    At a time when the world is recoiling from the horrific school shootings and gun violence in the USA, it seems completely tone-deaf and irresponsible to be introducing pro-gun education into New Zealand pre-schools. Proponents of Evolve's gun education approach state that this "does not promote guns." However simply through the act of introducing guns it inevitably does, and furthermore takes the choice about how and when chidlren interact with guns out of parents hands. Simply put: introuducing children to guns from a young age (pre-school is under the age of 5) normalises guns. It is important that we recognise that starting to normalise gun ownership and gun use in New Zealand is completly uneccesary and can't be justifed in terms of teaching pre-school children about how to handle guns safely. This campaign also confuses normal, imaginative gun play, with real gun safety. Children from a young age understand that play is not real, and this programme confuses that with real gun use and real gun safety that may in fact lead to, encourage more use of, and lead to a desire to play with, real guns. There is only one way to ensure children are safe around guns. Keep them away from firearms until an appropriate age, and ensure adults (not children) are responsible for the safety of young people around guns. The teaching of this course distorts that responsiblity. For more see: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12021233&ref=NZH_tw&ref=NZH_Tw
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  • Fully fund sexual violence support and prevention services in Budget 2019
    ActionStation is campaigning to end sexual violence in our communities for good. Providing enough government funding for sexual violence support and prevention services is a critical first step, and is one of the three asks in this petition that we’ll be delivering to Greens Co-Leader Marama Davidson on Thursday 6 December. We want to see a massive funding boost to sexual health in the May 2019 Budget. Help us hit 10,000 signatures to help make it happen.
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  • Pledge Against Forced Marriage
    Internationally, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 years old every year. Forced and under-age marriages also happen in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Shakti has dealt with an estimated number of over 70 forced marriage youth cases. However, we feel that this is the tip of the iceberg. Many forced and under-aged marriages go unreported - some of these marriages are not legally registered, sometimes happening overseas or online. The new family violence bill announced in 2016 is currently going through Parliament.[1] This bill includes “coercion to marry” as a specific family violence offence. While these legislative change are important, it might not capture the marriages that are not legally registered but are still culturally binding. Forced marriages are often followed by sexual and domestic violence. If a young person tries to leave the family due to the threat of forced marriage, this can often increase the risk of “honour”-based violence. However, many young women have had to leave their families or their husband’s family because of the threat of forced marriage or due to domestic violence after a forced marriage. This has long-term impacts on their lives and any children they might have. Forced marriages happen across cultures and religions. It is not specific to any one culture or religion. No major world religion condones forced marriages. Forced marriage is a human rights violation. Marriage should involve free and informed consent between adults. Forced marriage also should not be confused with arranged marriages which involve consenting adults. Young people and adults being coerced into marriages are in our communities, they might be at our school, university, workplace, church, temple or mosque. There is a way out for them with your support. Why do forced marriages happen? Based on the cases we have had over the years, we know that gender inequality and the sense of ownership over children (as the property of parents) are the main causes of forced marriages. However, these are some of the specific contexts where women have been forced into marriages: 1. Immigration: many young girls are tricked into going on holidays back to their home country to find out a wedding has been arranged between them and their cousin. They are pressured to sponsored the cousin to come to New Zealand. 2. Preventing girls from becoming “too westernised”: if a young person is displaying signs of adopting more western cultural values or practices, parents may feel that their culture, religion and traditions are being threatened so may force a girl into a marriage to keep them “in line”. 3. "Keeping it within the family" - marriages organised within the family without the consent of children whose marriage have already been decided for them so inheritance stays within the family. 4. Controlling sexuality: preventing relationships with people the parents/communities disapprove of, especially of different religion/culture/ethnicity or if they are same-gender attracted. 5. Rape and sexual violence: parents have forced their children to marry their rapists, as sex outside of marriage can be taboo and the girl may not be able to get married again if she is not a virgin. 6. Poverty: marriage as a means to escape poverty for women who migrate to Aotearoa for marriage because of promises of a better life and education. However, the promises are often deceptive and broken immediately upon arrival. Women get their possessions confiscated and made to do all the domestic labour, not allowed to go outside/study/work. They are given no money and are under constant scrutiny from the husband or in-laws family. 7. Marriage pressures in late 20s based on the idea that there is an expiry date, women over the age of 25 are “leftover” if they don’t get married. What is coercion? 1. Emotional pressure - “my dying wish is for you to get married”, “you are causing my health to suffer”, “If you don’t get married, your sisters can’t get married” 2. Physical violence or threats of physical violence 3. Threats of disownment 4. Taking young people overseas under false pretences 5. No informed, free or transparent consent - the decision has already been made, e.g. being told "you're going to get married when you turn 16" 6. Marriage involving any minor 7. Threats of suicide 8. Using ‘family honour’ to pressure someone to marry 9. Being put under house arrest, cell phone and internet confiscated, not allowed to talk to anyone or to go out of the house, being taken out of school until the young person complies. This campaign is supported with funding from JR McKenzie Trust. References [1] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/84189235/Strangulation-coercion-to-marry-and-family-violence-to-be-new-crimes-with-tough-sentences-Govt
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