11 Jul All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says he’s not ‘minimising poisonous’ effects of domestic violence
Steve Hansen has backtracked on comments made over domestic violence in New Zealand by declaring he had not meant to minimise the “poisonous” impact it had on women in this country.
In a statement on Wednesday, the All Blacks coach said he had not intended to come across as “unsympathetic” to how harmful domestic violence is to women in this country with his recently aired comments on the Sevu Reece case in a radio interview.
Hansen selected Reece as part of his 39-strong All Blacks squad for the first two Rugby Championship matches on the back of a standout rookie season with the Crusaders.
Reece’s career had previously been in limbo after he admitted to one count of male assaults female after injuring his partner while drunk in a Hamilton street last year. He was discharged without conviction after Judge Denise Clark said there were mitigating factors.
“Over the last few days it has become clear that my comments have come across to some people as being unsympathetic or minimising how poisonous and harmful domestic violence is for women,” Hansen said in the statement released by the All Blacks.
“Nothing could be further from what I intended. I’m glad to have the chance to correct this impression.
“Based on my experiences as a police officer, I get the fact that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children. That’s not in dispute and is plain wrong. As for the other comments I made about Sevu Reece, I stand by them.”
In an interview on Radio Sport last Saturday Hansen defended the selection of Crusaders wing Sevu Reece, saying he was worthy of wearing the black jersey and that it was inevitable rugby would have people caught up in domestic violence which had became a societal issue in New Zealand.
He also said that domestic violence “is not a gender thing” in this country.
“It’s a big part of our society unfortunately,” Hansen told Radio Sport on Saturday. “So rugby is going to have people within its community that are involved in this.
“And having been a policeman, I’ve seen plenty of it. And I know it’s not just restricted to males assaulting women, women assault males too.
“It’s not a gender thing, it’s a New Zealand problem.”
In the interview, the All Blacks coach pointed to poor parenting as a primary reason domestic violence had become a society-wide issue in New Zealand and said rugby had helped rehabilitate Reece.
“He’s come into an environment in the Crusaders where they’ve put a lot of things around him that have helped educate him, they’ve helped him understand that to be a good person you have to do certain things, and by doing that he’s shown a lot of remorse for what he’s done.
“He’s been actively trying to better himself.”