Post by Category : Sexual Abuse

The Courage To Be Me by Nina Burrowes – The Cartooning Psychologist

You can read her self help books online at her website

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Plea for $10m now to fight sex abuse

A sexual abuse prevention organisation has told the Government there is not enough funding to tackle sex abuse – and $10 million is needed now just to stabilise frontline services.

A parliamentary inquiry into the level of funding for victim support and offender treatment organisations has begun and will hear submissions from a dozen groups that work in the community.

Support groups for sexual abuse survivors say the sector is in crisis. There are fears some are shutting down and specialists in the field are leaving due to burn-out.

Rape Prevention Education executive director Kim McGregor told the Social Services select committee on Tuesday that organisations providing support for victims or treatment for offenders have been ignored by the Government for decades.

Ms McGregor said $10 million is needed to stabilise frontline services and called for a 10-year plan to be put in place with the aim of developing fully-funded services in the future.

A trustee for an Auckland sex abuse survivor group, Help, told the committee that funding for support is so low, they can’t meet the needs of all the city’s victims.

Debbie Hager said that although they have enough money to continue their work, they can’t employ enough staff to meet the needs of all the women and girls in Auckland who are raped or need complex support.

Green MP Jan Logie, who petitioned for the inquiry, said a recent survey of 22 support providers throughout New Zealand showed that over a third of them might cut staff.

Ms Logie said providers of therapy for offenders are also struggling, with some unable to treat people who voluntarily go to them for help.

Sexual assaults more than double world average

Sexual assaults more than double world average as reported on by  MARTY SILK

The rate of sexual assault in Australia and New Zealand is more than double the world average, according to a new report.

After several highly publicised rapes and murders of young women in India and South Africa, researchers from several countries  decided to review and estimate prevalence of sexual violence against women in 56 countries.

The results, published in the UK medical journal The Lancet, found that 7.2 per cent of women aged 15 years or older  reported being sexually assaulted by someone other than an intimate  partner at least once in their lives.

The study found that Australia and New Zealand has the third-highest rate, more than double the world average, with 16.4  per cent.

However, the study’s authors have cautioned that the figures  probably underestimate the true rate of sexual violence because in many areas women don’t report assaults because of underlying social  or cultural stigma.

NSW Rape Crisis Centre executive officer Karen Willis says Australia is doing a fairly good job recording sexual violence, but  that doesn’t mean we should sit back and think that all is  wonderful.

‘‘We have an endemic problem, it’s probably no better or worse  than anywhere else in the world,’’ she told AAP.

‘‘Unfortunately what we haven’t done is a much better job of  preventing it.’’

Willis said that it was especially sad there hadn’t been any change in the rate of sexual assault per capita this year.

She said that society, the government and the judicial system needed to work together to change the culture of some men.

‘‘It’s only a small group of men who commit these acts of  violence, but behind that small group is another whole range of  men, who are quite happy to talk in derogatory and demeaning ways about women or treat women in ways that indicate they’re  second-class citizens,’’ Willis said.

‘‘Those sort of cultures then allow at the extreme end, thos  that use violence to feel more comfortable doing so.’’

The Centre Against Sexual Assault’s Victoria spokeswoman Carolyn  Worth agreed, saying it was important to remember that many sexual  assaults were perpetrated by men who knew their victims.

‘‘After these assaults a lot of their friends ask ‘what was she  doing with him, she was drunk so why did she go back to his  house’,’’ she told AAP.

‘‘It has nothing to do with any of that, women and men deserve to go about their business unmolested, full stop.

‘‘No one has the right to have sex with anyone, they always need  consent.’’

Funding of Sexual Abuse Social Services Inquiry – SUBMISSION GUIDE

What is an inquiry and why should I make a submission?


The social services select committee’s job is to listen to evidence and advise parliament on how to improve social development in New Zealand. The committee includes members of parliament from National, Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party. The committee offers advice about pieces of legislation but sometimes they also initiate inquiries into matters of significant importance; in this case funding for specialist sexual abuse social services. It’s a chance for the community to tell parliament what it needs and wants, and hopefully build agreement across all the parties within parliament so we can get sustainable solutions.

Jan Logie from the Green Party initiated this inquiry in partnership with Alfred Ngaro from the National Party. All the parties on the committee believe we can better help victim/survivors.

Your opinion and experiences are unique and important. Submitting could help ensure the right help is there for everyone in the future. 


Sexual abuse: Push for change in sex trials By Simon Collins

Raped and abused women should not be ‘revictimised’ by cross-examination in court, Auckland seminar told.

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZPA

Justice Minister Judith Collins. Photo / NZPA

Sexual violence survivors are launching a push for alternatives to jury trials in a bid to avoid retraumatising victims.

Speakers at a seminar in Auckland yesterday said fundamental changes were needed so raped and abused women were not “revictimised” by lawyers’ cross-examination of their sexual histories in front of juries, while offenders could stay silent.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has halted work on proposals in a Law Commission issues paper last year to change the adversarial court system to an “inquisitorial” system where a judge controls what evidence is presented and how it is given, questions witnesses before letting lawyers fill in the gaps, and requires defendants to give evidence first.

She said last September that it would not be practical to have an inquisitorial system for sexual offences but not for other cases, because sexual offenders might also face other charges.

But former Law Commission deputy head Dr Warren Young told the seminar the Government might still be open to alternative processes for certain cases, because many victims did not want to go to court.

“The court system does not deal well with most sexual offences, and as a result people who need to be held to account for their behaviour are not held to account,” he said.

“So what we need to think about is an alternative process outside the criminal justice system for those sorts of cases that the court system is ill-suited to deal with – a process that victims will opt into at their choice.

“There will be an assessment by specialist providers about whether it will be workable for them, including safety issues. The process will be tailored to particular cases and will be oriented to trying to achieve a good outcome.

“There will be agreement about when, if the process fails, it is referred back to the criminal justice system, but if the accused participates fully there will be no referral back to the criminal justice system.”

Only about one sexual offence in every 100 leads to a conviction. A survey had found only 7 per cent of sexual offences were reported, and a 2009 government study found only 13 per cent of cases reported to police lead to a conviction.

Police classified 34 per cent of reported cases as “no offence”. Offenders could not be identified in a further 11 per cent of cases, they were identified but not prosecuted in 24 per cent of cases, and were prosecuted but not convicted in the remaining 18 per cent of cases.

This year’s Budget provided an extra $4.4 million over two years to refer an extra 3000 cases a year, including about 50 sexual violence cases, to restorative justice.

Paulette Benton-Greig of Project Restore, a restorative justice provider specialising in sexual abuse cases, said most victims’ overriding concern was to stop a repeat of the offending, rather than to seek punishment.

But Victoria University associate professor Elisabeth McDonald said restorative justice was allowed only after someone had been found guilty, and it needed to be instead of court.


Dr Young said the Law Commission consulted former judge and Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright before beginning its inquiry and was struck by her comment: “If I had a daughter who was raped, I would strongly advise her not to go near the criminal justice system.”

PROPOSED new law restricts suspected child abusers

Suspected child abusers could be banned from being around children for up to 10 years without being convicted of a crime under a proposed new law to be announced today.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the restrictions could see up to 80 people a year slapped with orders preventing them from working, living and socialising with children, with penalties imposed on those who break the ban.

If police or Child Youth and Family believe “on the balance of probabilities” someone poses a threat to a child, High Court or District Court judges could impose the 10-year ban, similar to restraining orders in cases of domestic violence.

Bennett expects a battle from human rights and civil liberties groups but believes she has the support of New Zealand for the moves.

The law, which is among a raft of child abuse prevention measures to be unveiled today, would also allow police to tell parents if their partner was the subject of such a restriction.

“The court can consider a pattern of behaviour, so it might be that in some cases police have high intel on an individual and their behaviour has been considerably concerning. They don’t have enough evidence to take them to court but they might ask that the courts put a civil order against them.”

Bennett admits the law will be controversial but says she is putting the welfare of children first. Too many children were dying and on the balance of probabilities, the crime was committed by the “one adult in the room”. But the threshold of proof was too high.

“Far too many of the serious cases of abuse of kids that have been killed, it is often a non-blood relative, so the boyfriend if you like. Sometimes they can be very hard to take to conviction or of course they are alone and the wee child can’t speak up.”

Under the proposal to go out for consultation, qualifying offences could include suspected sexual violation, incest, sexual grooming, indecent assault and murder.

It would restrict where those people could work, live and socialise. “For example, it might be that the person cannot live, work or associate with children, it might be that they can’t hang around parks or pools where children might be.”

The restrictions, and how the threat would be assessed, would be finalised over the next few months but Bennett admitted they could be “very restrictive”. The orders were designed to complement the courts process and provide an extra layer of protection for children.

She said most orders would likely be imposed on those with prior convictions but there would be others who had clean records.

There were measures in place to rehabilitate abusers but children’s safety had to be put first.

The law is expected to hit about 80 people each year but Bennett said there were about 22,000 substantiated cases of abuse and neglect each year.

The Global Fight Against Child Pornography

Article by Barbara Lambourn , the national advocacy manager for Unicef NZ.


OPINION: In New Zealand we are well aware that we lag behind similar developed countries in rankings for child protection.

Our abuse figures continue to shame us. Stories of neglect and cruelty are daily media events.

But another level of abhorrence was added last week with the story of a child in California bought, adopted and traded for the purpose of satisfying paedophiles across three continents.

The perpetrators of this crime were tracked and the child rescued – with credit due to investigators at the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs, police, Customs officials and others. New Zealand is a leader in the global effort to combat activities such as this and its ugly cousin, child pornography.

Our Department of Internal Affairs has been at the forefront of the worldwide effort to find and bring to account purveyors of activities that sexually exploit children.

The innovative Super Squirrel Hunter software at Internal Affairs has been customised for more than 20 other countries and is hailed worldwide as a major tool in the campaign to free children from sexual exploitation.

In 2011, six men associated with what was described as the world’s biggest paedophile ring, were charged with child pornography offences committed in New Zealand.

At that time Detective Senior Sergeant John Michael said he believed it was likely to be the tip of the iceberg. “It’s rampant in New Zealand and if the public knew the scale of the offence here, they would be appalled.”

The attitudes and behaviour of consumers of child pornography around the world degrades and puts all children, including our own, at risk.

It is a borderless crime.

Behind every single one of those images is a real child looking to the adult world to protect them. A report from Unicef in 2009 estimated millions of victims and stated that boys and girls of all ages and backgrounds and in every region of the world were subjected to this type of sexual abuse and exploitation.

The creators and clientele of the child pornography industry are unrelenting in their pursuit of victims. The child at the centre of last week’s case was a baby when he was purchased for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Especially concerning is that in most cases no-one knows who or where these children are and rescuing them from exploitation is deeply challenging. The expertise and experience of the investigator at Internal Affairs in New Zealand was the vital connection that led to the rescue of the little boy.

But the practice will continue until there is widespread awareness and acknowledgement that wherever such images originate, children are severely harmed.


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, endorsed by every country in the world, and which New Zealand signed up to in 1993, obligates our state agencies to act always in the best interests of children. Article 34 commits us to protect children from any kind of sexual abuse.

We applaud the police, Internal Affairs and Customs for their vigilance and dedication to protecting children.

We need to continue our support and investment in these programmes to ensure that the evil industry cannot flourish here in New Zealand.


Attorneys-General of several countries agreed to ‘work together to more closely to fight sexual violence against women and children’ at a high-level meeting in Auckland this week.

Attorneys-General resolve to support prosecutions of sexual violence

The Attorneys-General of Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand and England and Wales resolved to work together more closely to fight sexual violence against women and children at yesterday’s Quintet meeting of Attorneys-General in Auckland.


PDF of media release link is below



Horror In Paradise

Global outrage is growing against a Maldives court’s verdict announced on February 26, 2013 to flog a 15-year-old girl who was originally a victim of rape and sexual abuse. She now faces 100 lashes in public which will be administered when she turns 18.

More than two million people have signed a petition created by the campaign website, urging Maldivian authorities to protect the girl and end the practice of flogging of women and children for sex outside marriage. The petition also threatens to hit at the country’s tourism industry until President Mohamed Waheed acts.

The girl has been a victim of sexual abuse dating back to 2009 and consecutive governments have failed to protect her, according to a report by Minivan News.

The court sentenced her to 100 lashes and 8 months of house arrest for confessing to a separate case – not related to the rape – of consensual sex with a man. She was first taken for questioning in 2012 when a dead baby was found buried inside her family compound. Her stepfather has been charged with murdering her baby and child sexual abuse while her mother has been charged with concealing the sexual abuse.


Sign the petition here

International News – Duchess of Cornwall – supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse

5th Feb 2013

The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a reception in support of survivors of rape and sexual abuse at Clarence House.

The Duchess organised the reception to bring together political figures, rape support groups and rape survivors.

She spoke to those present of the importance of forming a united front to help victims of rape and sexual abuse and

the need to end the taboo surrounding rape and sexual abuse, adding “perhaps from this small beginning, we will be able to

build a future where society will simply not tolerate rape and sexual abuse any longer”


Survivors and others attending stated the Duchess’s contribution was positive,  and you could tell she felt very passionately about the issue.

She had shown a level of commitment to this area, and her high profile had helped make possible a meeting focused solely on this issue

by a  wide range of representatives from various UK groups.