Who we are

Many people have been involved in the process of developing this resource over the time since 2004. It has been a huge task that needed input from a range of professionals active in the field of violence prevention, education and health. And of course children have been consulted all along the way!

Meet the original co-creators of the programmes:


Elaine Dyer, Project Leader, has been a passionate advocate for peace, social justice and prevention of violence for most of her working life. Trained initially as a teacher of children, she initiated Youthline’s Action Education and has coordinated, trained and facilitated projects in prisons and communities nationally and internationally such as the Alternatives to Violence Project or her own professional training courses for facilitators. She has presented at conferences here in New Zealand and internationally.

Elaine has written international manuals for trainers as well as being highly regarded as a trainer and supervisor of facilitators.

Between 2001-2015 she coordinated and was CEO of Violence Free Waitakere, focused particularly on safety for families with children under five through events and promotions. The film ‘Jade Speaks Up’ has been one of her projects for the past eight years, to help New Zealand children establish some strategies for keeping themselves safe around violence.


Andrea O’Hagan, programme co-developer, has her own business,Positive Changes, which focuses on effective learning strategies and the nuances of effective teacher talk. She has presented at numerous conferences including the 2016 NZ CORE Education Conference. With her background in neuro-linguistics and education she was contracted by the Peace Foundation for 14 years as the regional trainer of the Peace Foundation Mediation Programmes in Primary Schools, and the Peaceful Family Communication Programmes. She co-wrote the Peaceful Family Communication manual in 2010 and Peaceful Teens Communication skills manual in 2013.

Andrea has taught in Kindergartens, Primary Schools, University and adult community settings. For three years Andrea was the NLP Brain Coach in an Eastern Bay of Plenty secondary school, introducing teenagers to strategies to change their learning and behaviours. She teaches as a Teaching Fellow in the University of Waikato Faculty of Education.

Social Workers in Schools attached to four participating schools

JSU captures children who otherwise wouldn’t come to the attention of services.  It is a non-identifying approach for whole classes to open up issues. It is a great opportunity to find out about how all domains are for children who can present as if everything is ok in their life

Michelle Clayton and Linda Cooper

Creating the resource Jade Speaks up was a real community effort ably led by Elaine Dyer and her team at Violence Free Waitakere, bringing together expertise from across the West Auckland Family Violence Sector. Family Action was pleased to have been involved in the co-creation of the resource from inception. The clinical team use Jade Speaks Up extensively within the… Read more “Michelle Clayton and Linda Cooper”

Family Action CEO and Auckland City Councillor

Eve Tonkin

I just had to put pen to paper to express my gratitude to you for the extraordinary programme that you have created. Jade Speaks Up is very different to any health programme that we have ever had anything to do with because it is holistic, emotionally intelligent and authentic for each who participates in it.
The depth, breadth and… Read more “Eve Tonkin”

Principal Timatanga Community School

Teacher from Te Ara Koropiko West Spreydon School

I have been waiting 6 years for a programme like this that addresses the high needs in our school , impacted by the triple trauma of earthquake, shootings and Covid-19. The JSU programme uniquely  caters for all, including the students with complex needs, those with trauma, and those in stable home lives. The programme allows all to participate and shine.

Deborah Sim

Thank you for telling me about and introducing me to the Jade Speaks Up Programme. As a family law barrister, I have seen the consequences of family violence and unresolved conflict in many family/whanau and other relationship situations. I have witnessed the distress and damage caused to children and understand how seriously this can impact their development and future wellbeing.I… Read more “Deborah Sim”

Barrister and Children's advocate

David King

Jade Speaks Up is the programme with an explicit focus on keeping safe and Waikowhai Intermediate is embedding JSU into our delivery of the Health curriculum. JSU brings classes together and teachers see the improvements in student language to deal with issues. The programme fits very well culturally with the demographic of the school. It fits very well being woven… Read more “David King”

Principal of Waikowhai Intermediate, 2019 after 3 years of implementing JSU

Jennifer Martinez

I highly recommend the training for any group that is going to deliver Jade Speaks Up. It’s an opportunity for the team to learn together and have a shared understanding of the content and process. It will only strengthen the team to deliver a success programme. Andrea and Elaine were approachable and friendly facilitators, it made the learning easy and… Read more “Jennifer Martinez”

The Logos Project Marist Youth Development School Programme’s Leader

Lisa Sell

I attended the “Jade Speaks Up” training at Kaitangata Primary School in January 2020.
This primary school is one I am assigned to in the Clutha District as a Public Health Nurse and so I know the school and community well.
At the end of 2019 it became evident that the school was having to manage and help… Read more “Lisa Sell”

Southern District Health Board

Jacqueline Graham–Barley

Providing an environment where children are safe and do not live in fear is what we would like to think is the norm in our communities. Sadly this is not the case. Many children live with frightening moments in their lives, to many this is normal. They do not know how to put their concerns into words, or with whom… Read more “Jacqueline Graham–Barley”

MB Ch B, FRNZCGP, FRACGP, Diploma Obstetrics and gynaecology, Diploma Farm Health. Advanced Diploma Dermatology Advanced Diploma Skin cancer medicine and Surgery, Retired GP, Retired Senior Lecturer Central Queensland School of Medicine

Dr Russell Wills

New Zealand has exceptionally high rates of family violence and child abuse compared to the rest of the world. Even if not physically assaulted, violence is profoundly harmful to children in the short- and long-term. The cost to our society and economy is enormous. Māori are over-represented among both perpetrators and victims. Family violence is our national shame. There are… Read more “Dr Russell Wills”

Paediatrician, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. Former Children’s Commissioner.

Intermediate SENCO

Jade Speaks Up makes it OK for letting students at risk know that they are not the only one living in these situations and the programme is really good for opening up the students to the opportunities to tell their stories