Author(s): Lesley Elliott
In 2008, the horrific murder of Sophie Elliott by her former boyfriend and university tutor, Clayton Weatherston, shocked the nation. 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. International research suggested education was the key; Lesley set up the Sophie Elliott Foundation to raise awareness among all young people, their friends and families to the signs of partner abuse. The Loves-Me-Not programme was developed by the New Zealand Police in partnership with the Sophie Elliott Foundation and the Ministry of Social Development. Its primary aim is to help young people 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. 'If you think you are unsafe, then you probably are.' Lesley Elliott
W. J. (Bill) O'Brien, a retired former senior police officer, is the author of over 20 books, including one on the Aramoana shooting tragedy that subsequently became the basis for the film Out of the Blue. He co-authored the bestselling Sophie's Legacy with Lesley Elliott, her account of the murder of her daughter at the hands of ex-boyfriend, Clayton Weatherston. His prolonged trial and attempts to blame Sophie for her own death created huge public revulsion and outrage. The case caused further controversy with the use of the defence of provocation leading to call for legal reform. Royalties from the book go towards funding the Sophie Elliott Foundation, which has been established to resource a school-based programme to better prepare young people to look after themselves and avoid abusive relationships. Bill is now a trustee on the Foundation and manages Lesley's nationwide speaking engagements in a voluntary capacity. He was a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards of 2007, and soon after was appointed Children's Writer in Residence at the University of Otago's College of Education.