MP pushes anti-sex violence message

By Michelle Hector for Bay of Plenty Times, 28 October, 2015:

 

When Labour MP Kelvin Davis returned to parliament last year, he made it his mission to address the country’s shameful sexual violence rates.

The passionate ambassador shared his story with Tauranga abuse support staff yesterday at a hui hosted by the Tauranga Moana Abuse Prevention Strategy.

It was a story the Te Tai Tokerau MP began in 2001 when he took up the principal’s position at Kaitaia Intermediate in Northland.

During his first three weeks on the job he heard about 13 cases of sexual violence against children in the community – all relating to people they were close to.

He called a community meeting but was disheartened by the response, with some questioning whether he was equipped to deal with what might “fall out of the woodwork” if he pursued the issue.

In 2012, he cursed his decision to let things lie when convicted paedophile James Parker was arrested at the school six minutes down the road from the intermediate.

“I could have prevented other young boys from being abused by James Parker,” he said.

His teaching career was followed by a stint in parliament but in November 2013 the issue came to the forefront of his mind again when the Roast Busters scandal broke.

He decided there needed to be men in parliament speaking out against sexual violence and had planned to stand for re-election when he was called up in April 2014 to replace departing Labour MP Shane Jones.

“It’s about using the position of MP to highlight the cause,” he said.

He contacted the director of Maori sexual violence support service Korowai Tumanako, Russell Smith, and they lead a 440km hikoi from West Auckland to Cape Reinga, speaking at schools and communities about sexual violence offending.

During the hikoi, they set up an anonymous 0800 helpline number aimed at giving those who were having harmful sexual thoughts a way to seek help. Plans are already underway for a similar hikoi next year – led by Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe across Taranaki. Mr Davis has enlisted the support of National MPs Barbara Kuriger and Chester Borrows.

“This is cross-party, this is apolitical. It’s just a good issue,” he said. “I don’t want to be the face of it. Everyone should be the face of it, it’s about everyone doing their part.”

He admits the ripples are small but “it’s better to be doing something than nothing at all”.

 

 

Read the full article, HERE.

TOAH NNEST excited at Minister’s news

From Scoop, 30th April 2014:

Te Ohaakii a Hine National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together are excited to hear about the funding boost announced today by Minister Bennett.

“The funding boost will provide much needed support to specialist organisations within the sexual violence sector, many of which are struggling week to week to keep their doors open. ” said Tania Blomfield, the chair of the Tauiwi Caucus of TOAH NNEST.

“This will go a long way towards ensuring that the organisations currently working in this specialist field are able to continue to provide services to those in need while a long term sustainable funding solution is developed,” she
stated.

“Minister Bennett is right. It is a basic right that people should feel safe and secure and free of fear, which is too often taken away from people through sexual violence.”

Paetakawaenga Executive spokesman for Nga Kaitiaki Mauri of TOAH NNEST Russell Smith is also pleased by this news.

“Many of our services welcome the funding boost Minister Bennett has allocated for our sector. Hopefully this will translate into funding for our kaupapa Maori services. Our hope is that frontline urban and rural kaupapa Maori survivor and harmful sexual behaviour services are supported well by easing the process by which to access these funds”.

He goes on to say “This will help reduce the burgeoning needs we are confronted with on a daily basis. Many of our services have had to operate on the goodwill of the people within these services. So for us this is a much received and needed injection of funds. So to Minister Bennett, thank you”.

Tania Blomfield further added that since becoming the lead Minister for the sexual violence sector, Minister Bennett has worked diligently towards seeking workable solutions for the cash strapped sector, and during the last year, significant gains have been made in raising awareness of the financial plight the sector faces on a daily basis.

“TOAH NNEST are incredibly grateful for the work Minister Bennett has done, and we also want to acknowledge the tremendous effort of Dr Kim McGregor,
who resigned from TOAH NNEST late last year, but who has also put many
years hard work into achieving this goal”

Ends

To read the original release on Scoop, click here.

$10.4 million ‘a huge win’ for sexual violence support services

From TVNZ, 30th April 2014:

Today’s announcement of $10.4 million to support services for sexual violence victims is “a huge win” and will help to ensure everyone gets the right help, the Green Party says.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the funding in next month’s budget will go towards a new operating fund to support services over the next two years, to “provide vital support for New Zealanders and their families impacted by sexual violence”.

The extra funding will include support for crisis response and treatment services, male victims of sexual violence and allow better access to medical and forensic services.

Ms Bennett says the funding will provide a “shot in the arm” to the currently underfunded sector.

“This is alongside work the Government is doing with the sector on a cross-agency, long-term strategy to make sure sexual violence services are high quality, well-run and sustainable,” she says.

Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie says the funding will give those working to support victims the stability they need to get on with their job of looking after the people they work with.

Ms Logie says support services have been struggling for too long, having to worry about whether they will be able to afford to open their doors, so this long overdue funding is very welcome.

The announcement comes as a Parliamentary committee investigates the current levels of funding for sexual abuse organisations. Several of these groups have struggled to survive since the Government cut their funding.

Treasury estimates sexual abuse costs the country $1.2 billion each year.

Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says the announcement is too little, too late.
 
She says the Government has ignored the plight of the sector which has faced an increased demand for services with less funding.

Labour says it’s working on a comprehensive and long-term package aimed at making New Zealand a world leader in reducing sexual offending.

To read the original article and watch the TVNZ news report, click here.

Sexual violence boost ‘bare minimum’

From Radio New Zealand, 30th April 2014:

The Government’s funding boost for specialist sexual violence services has been described as the bare minimum needed to keep the sector afloat.

The Government announced on Wednesday a $10 million funding boost in next month’s budget for sexual violence services to provide immediate relief to those which are struggling.

New Zealand First says the Government has known about the state of the sexual violence sector for years and the new funding is an election year bribe.

The Labour Party says the funding is the bare minimum needed to stop specialist services from having to close their doors.

But Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says officials identified that $10 million would be enough to sustain the sector for the next two years, however she acknowledged more money would be required long term.

Ms Bennett says the sector requires extra resources, especially for making 24 hour, seven-days-a-week crisis call-out and emergency counselling services available.

She says the money will be used to support front-line crisis-response and community-based treatment services, as well as male victims and those accessing medical and forensic services.

A Parliamentary inquiry is currently looking into the funding of specialist sexual violence services.

Ms Bennett says she couldn’t wait for the outcome of the inquiry.

“The need is so great now, to be honest I’d done a lot of work on my cabinet and to get them to this point, there was no way I was going to delay them for another six months.”

“I knew I had a shot of getting a bit of money in this year’s budget so I was going to grab it with everything I had.”

The Parliamentary inquiry has been told the sector is severely under-resourced and has lost about $6 million a year since changes to ACC in 2011 when it cut funding for sex abuse counselling.

Specific details of exactly where the new money will go will be available in the next few weeks.

Funding welcomed

A rape prevention trust says the Government’s funding boost will help stop the loss of trained staff from the sector.

Executive director of Rape Prevention Education, Kim McGregor says the sector has been underfunded for many decades.

She says there’s been a high level of burnout and it’s been difficult to hold on to specialist trained staff.

Ms McGregor says the extra funding will help stabilise the sector in the short-term.

Director of Auckland Help, Kathryn McPhillips, says the funding will help to sustain current counselling services, but she’d also like to see funding to expand the services available.

Abuse and Rape Crisis Support Manawatu director, Ann Kent, says she hopes that in two years there is a plan in place for ongoing support.

To read the full article, click here.

Dr Kim McGregor’s address to the Leading Justice Symposium, Parliament

Leading Justice Symposium

Parliament

29 April 2014

 

Kia ora tatou, Nga mihikiakoutou.

My name is Kim McGregor. I am the Executive Director of Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri.

It is an honour to be here today.

Thank you to the Minister of Justice, the Hon Judith Collins for developing this initiative with the aim of reducing crime and improving the criminal justice system of the future.

The question I have chosen to address today is:

What do we need to do to reduce the occurrence of the crime of sexual violence?

 

Before I begin I would like to acknowledge the many people and families affected, in some way, by sexual violence.

After almost 30 years of working with survivors of sexual violence my three key points are these:

 

1) Significantly increase our investment in sexual violence prevention so that our investment is more in line with the huge size, cost and complexity of the crime.

Sexual violence affects approximately 1 in 3-5 females and 1 in 6-10 males – most before about 16 years old.

Some groups are particularly vulnerable, including children (girls and boys), young people – particularly young women aged 16-25, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, and those with a disability. Some ethnicities are particularly targeted including Maori and Pacifica populations.

Treasury estimates sexual violence as NZ’s most costly crime.

However, despite the crime of sexual violence being such a widespread and entrenched problem – it is a preventable crime!

This is because sexual violence is perpetrated by human behaviour and supported by social attitudes, and, as we know, human behaviour and social attitudes CAN be changed.

For an example of prevention that has worked, look at the previously high rates of deaths on our roads from poor driving – peaking in the 1970s.

With focused education, campaigns and resources delivered year after year, after year, these behaviours and attitudes have been changed, and many hundreds of lives have been saved.

We can effect similar attitudinal and behavioural changes with regard to sexual violence – as long as we dedicate our focused efforts for a decade or more.

To achieve our goal of having communities filled with respectful relationships and free of sexual violence, we must work in partnerships to create respectful social norms where sexual violence is unacceptable. This requires a cultural shift on many levels.

To create this cultural shift government departments need to co-ordinate their efforts.

Government and the specialist sexual violence intervention sector need to work together.

Different community sectors and groups also must work together.

We must engage men as part of our many different prevention strategies, as well as training and resourcing leaders from faith-based groups, and leaders from many different ethnic communities. Prevention is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each group needs a tailored strategy. For example, Tangata Whenua Maori must have resources to develop their own prevention strategies.

We can build on work already achieved. The Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence report has 70 bi-cultural recommendations to deal with sexual violence through prevention, early intervention, ongoing support, sex offender treatment, improvements to the current criminal justice system and alternatives to the current criminal justice system, including restorative justice initiatives.

When this Taskforce report was handed to the previous Minister of Justice in 2009, he described it as the “most comprehensive roadmap of sexual violence prevention and services, ever received by Government”. Few of these recommendations have been implemented.

We need to turn the road map into an Action Plan and back it with sufficient resourcing to ensure that the Action Plan doesn’t just grow dust on the shelf.

 

2) We must find a better way to address sexual violence than through the current Criminal Justice System because 90% of sexual violence crimes are dealt with outside of it.

Sexual violence is a hugely underreported crime and most sexual violence offenders receive no sanction at all.

More than half of those who experience sexual violence tell no one. Even very young children remain silent about being raped – especially if the person who harmed them lives in their family or in their community.

In my research with women who experienced child sexual abuse to the most severe levels between the ages on average six to thirteen years old, only 4% told anyone about the sexual violence at the time it was happening. Most took on average 16 years before they told anyone. When they did tell anyone it was not the Police or a therapist – it was their peers or family.

Only about 7 in 100 crimes of sexual violence are recorded by the Police.

Of those 7, approximately 3 will get to court, and only 1 of these 3 will result in a conviction.

If only one person in a hundred with harmful sexual behaviour receives a sanction – then the other 99 are free to continue to harm others often, over many years.

To counter entrenched harmful sexual behaviours from developing over a lifetime, we can intervene early, especially with young children displaying harmful sexual behaviour and also by promoting respectful relationships from pre-school to university levels.

Because the community sector carries the biggest burden of helping people to deal with these crimes, we must significantly increase resourcing to the specialist sexual violence intervention sector that has the expertise to work with the many individuals and families affected by sexual violence.

One of the many reasons for low reporting is due to victim-blaming and the fear, and actual experiences, of not being believed, and of facing a criminal justice system that is hostile to rape complainants with defence lawyers calling them liars and sluts, as well as victims not wanting to engage in an all-or-nothing (guilty or not guilty) criminal justice system.

To improve the criminal justice system for victims of sexual crimes, the specialist sexual violence intervention sector supports implementing the Law Commission’s research and recommendations on pre-trial and trial processes.

 

3) Finally, we need sustained government leadership and focus on this problem for over a decade at least.

Without leadership, all of the action plans and recommendations in the world will do nothing to end sexual violence.

In January this year the President of the United States, Barack Obama, set up a White House taskforce to deal with the 1 in 5 women sexually assaulted in college and to combat sexual violence in the armed forces. In his speech he said:

“Sexual assault is an affront to our basic decency and humanity. And it’s about all of us – the safety of those we love most: our moms, our wives, our daughters and our sons.

Because when a child starts to question their self-worth after being abused, and maybe starts withdrawing… or a young woman drops out of school after being attacked… or a mother struggles to hold down a job and support her kids after an assault… it’s not just these individuals and their families who suffer. Our communities – our whole country – is held back.

We’re going to keep working to stop sexual assaults wherever they occur. We’ll keep strengthening our criminal justice system, so police and prosecutors have the tools and training to prevent these crimes   and bring perpetrators to justice. We’ll keep reaching out to survivors, to make sure they’re getting all the support they need to heal.

Some of this is a job for government. But really, it’s up to all of us. We’ve especially got to teach young men to show women the respect they deserve. I want every young man to know that real men don’t hurt women. And those of us who are fathers have a special obligation to make sure every young man out there understands that being a man means recognizing sexual violence and being outraged by it, and doing their part to stop it.

Perhaps most important, we need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back.”

 

This type of leadership demonstrated by Barack Obama is the type of leadership necessary to end sexual violence.

 

Thank you.

Sexual violence inquiry reveals gaps in services and funding shortfall

From the NZ Herald, 8th April 2014:

 

John was first referred to sexual violence services aged 12. His mother was schizophrenic and his father, a gang member with a violent history, was in prison.

After he began acting out violently and sexually at school, Child, Youth and Family (CYF) shuffled him through foster homes in his rural neighbourhood.

He failed to improve, and was moved to a specialist home in a nearby city, where he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.

John’s life turned around when he was transferred to a state-funded residential treatment programme.

“He did exceptionally well,” said Lesley Ayland, chief executive of the Harmful Sexual Behaviour Sector.

“He made a huge improvement in his learning, his behaviour settled, he returned to the group home and continued to do well. He was on track to attend university.”

But when John turned 17, CYF closed its case because he had become an adult. There was no equivalent support for adults.

He returned home to his mother, who was refusing medication. His behaviour deteriorated and he reoffended.

John’s story was one of several complex and tragic cases told to a major inquiry into sexual violence services in New Zealand, which resumes hearings in Wellington tomorrow. Doctors, victims, psychologists, lobby groups and officials warned Parliament’s social services committee last week that there were a number of gaps in the current system.

They expressed concern about long waits for services, uncertainty about continued funding, total absence of funding for some sectors, and the struggle to help Maori, rural, transgender or intersex clients.

National crime statistics released last week revealed a 10 per cent increase in sexual assaults between 2012 and 2013. The trend could reflect increased reporting of abuse, not a rise in the rate of assaults.

Wellington Rape Crisis agency manager Eleanor Butterworth said more victims were seeking help because the stigma around sexual violence was increasingly being broken down. She said this change would require greater resourcing for sexual violence services.

“That means long-term plans, not pilots, it means multi-year funding contracts, it means services directed at hard-to-reach and marginalised communities and it means getting your head around the fact that one in four women and one in eight men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime and that many of those people will want to access specialist services at some point in their lives.”

 

To read the full article, click here.

Goals from the inaugural Louise Nicholas Day event, 30th March 2014

Working together to eliminate sexual violence

 

Goals from the inaugural Louise Nicholas Day to Review Responses to Sexual Violence

31 March 2014

 

 

All of the goals listed below were supported by a majority of participants who attended the launch of the Louise Nicholas Day to Review Responses to Sexual Violence at the Grey Lynn Library Hall, 30th March 2014.

 

Dr Kim McGregor

– Funding in this year’s budget to rebuild capacity and gaps in infrastructure of specialist services – especially for prevention and frontline survivor services for all –including female/male/children/young people/adults/specialist Kaupapa Maori approaches/ Pacifica approaches / all cultures/ LGBQIT/those with disabilities – to a minimum of $10 million this year and then increased annually in a staged approach until the goal of providing easy access to the full range of specialist sexual violence intervention services all communities in Aotearoa is reached.

– A comprehensive ten-year plan of action on sexual violence agreed to across political parties to implement the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence (July 2009) recommendations.

 

Louise Nicholas (National Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate)

– Easy access to fully funded specialist trained sexual violence services throughout the country.

– Specialist courts for crimes of sexual violence.

 

Kathryn McPhillips (HELP Auckland)

– Five-year plan of action on sexual violence.

– $12.5 million in this year’s budget.

– Resourcing for Kaupapa Maori approaches.

 

Russell Smith (Korowai Tumanako)

– Resources for offender treatment groups and survivor specialists to coordinate on interventions to sexual violence.

– Mainstream Maori practices and processes.

– More funding to Kaupapa Maori services.

– Better sexual violence prevention education in rural communities.

 

Tusha Penny (NZ Police)

– To build trust and confidence in NZ Police force

– National consistency in Police policy and in access to specialist sexual violence services in all parts of New Zealand.

– Police-owned recommendations from the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence to be implemented by March 2015.

– The establishment of specialist sexual violence courts.

 

Alfred Ngaro (National Party)

– To advocate for better resourcing for counselling through ACC.

– Ensuring that support is accessible to and reaches the whole community – culturally appropriate services – all ethnicities.

– To get specialist teams working together.

– Teach men how to have respectful relationships and how to respect women.

 

Jan Logie (Greens)

– To contribute to Select Committee Inquiry in to Sexual Violence Services Funding report and make sure that recommendations are implemented.

– Establishing a whole-of-government approach to sexual violence with a central resourcing body.

– Fully fund core services from prevention through to intervention through to treatment.

– Support Kaupapa Maori model of working.

– Research and development funding for communities who are under-served.

– Ensure Law Commission consultation on alternative trial processes is seen through and recommendations implemented.

 

Carol Beaumont (Labour)

– Long term, comprehensive, well-resourced, collaborative community strategy to deal with sexual violence which has cross-party support.

– Adequate funding for immediate needs as well as long term strategy.

– Taking lessons from overseas models of change, particularly those in the UK and Australia.

– Review and reform criminal justice system to make it easier for survivors to seek justice.

– Make sure that existing recommendations are implemented.

 

* Associate Professor Elisabeth McDonald (Law Victoria University)

– Funding of independent specialist sexual violence advisors in all parts of the country who would work with victim/survivors from their first point of contact with any relevant agency and would also assist them in deciding what resolution process to follow and support them through any dealings with police/prosecutors/ACC/doctors/therapists etc

– Funding for lawyers to represent complainant’s interests regarding disclosure of information about them to the defendant, and during admissibility decisions about the use of the complainant’s previous sexual history.

– Funding for nationwide ongoing public education programmes aimed at preventing sexual violence.

– The establishment of a specialist sexual violence court (where all those involved have received training in the dynamics of sexual violence).

*(Although Elisabeth McDonald’s goals were not read at the launch we believe the hui would have supported these goals).

 

Please click on a link below to read more about the inaugural Louise Nicholas Day event:

Louise Nicholas Day Launch Kim’s Welcome and Background to Issues for Specialist Sexual Violence Sector

Goals from the inaugural Louise Nicholas Day to Review Responses to Sexual Violence

Funding gaps for sexual violence victims a blemish on human rights

From the Human Rights Commission, 2nd April 2014:

Funding gaps and barriers to specialist services means some victims of sexual violence may never recover from the trauma they experience, according to a submission released by the Human Rights Commission today.

The Commission told the Social Services Select Committee it welcomes an inquiry into the funding of specialist sexual violence social services in New Zealand.

Between 92-95 per cent of sexual violence victims are women and those most at risk are Māori women, young women, women who have been victimised before, and people with disabilities.

“This is a sad blemish on New Zealand’s human rights record,” Human Rights Commissioner for Women Dr Jackie Blue said.

In its submission, the Commission highlighted the needs of disabled people, who globally are up to three times more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse and rape, and have less access to physical and psychological and judicial interventions.

The Commission recommended that specialist sexual violence services need to be fully accessible to disabled people and include funding of workforce development. This includes making New Zealand Sign Language interpreters consistently available to those who need them.

To read the original article, click here.

Problems with sexual violence service funding highlighted

From Newstalk ZB, 2nd April 2014:

Major problems are being highlighted in the way specialist sexual violence social services are funded.

A Parliamentary inquiry into the sector is hearing from sector groups and victims today

Nga Toanga o te Wairua spokesperson Ann Nation says available funding is appallingly insecure.

“I’m really appalled at the lack. People have to go for a year or two years and wonder, in the agencies, what they need to keep on going.

“It’s a very, very uncertain life.”

Nga Toanga o te Wairua spokesperson Ripeka August-Tampeau says there are not enough skilled Maori counsellors or those with the necessary cultural skills to help Maori sex abuse victims.

“We need the training. We need training institutions to be held accountable for sending out councillors that are not equipped to deal with the diversity in this country.”

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust spokesman Richard Brewer is highlighting how hard he has found it to raise funding for his organisation’s peer support work.

“Last year I made over 20 funding applications to this government and non-government organisations, and managed to raise a total of $5,000 from a city council.

“Everybody else turned us down.”

And a group representing the transgender and the intersex says their people are not catered for by current sexual abuse support and counselling services.
To read the full article, click here.

Sex abuse victims need more help

From the Dominion Post, 2nd April 2014:

Child victims of sex abuse are the next generation of offenders, a parliamentary select committee heard today.

Survivors of rape and abuse, along with agencies working with victims and offenders, spoke at a Wellington hearing on funding of specialist sexual violence services.

Dr Dawn Elder, speaking for the Paediatric Society of New Zealand, said if anything came out of the parliamentary inquiry it should be better funding for prevention, which included services for child victims of abuse.

“This is your next generation of sexual offenders,” she said.

“A little investment in children’s abnormal behaviour will save a lot of money in Corrections later on.”

WellStop chief executive Lesley Ayland, speaking for the harmful sexual behaviour sector, said funding was “piecemeal” and her organisation had 14 short-term contracts with different agencies for different services.

Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust Wellington regional manager Richard Brewer said he funded the first two years of the organisation’s peer support service out his KiwiSaver fund just to prove it worked.

Counsellor and survivor Ripeka August-Tampeau said better funding was desperately needed, particularly for better services for Maori.

“We need more funding for perpetrator services as well as peer services,” she said.

“A lot of the time, perpetrators are the victims themselves and they’re just not getting help … If we don’t get it, we’re going to become a very sick society.”

To read the full article, click here.