Bishop at centre of name debate investigated

An independent investigation is under way into the handling of sexual abuse complaints by a former Roman Catholic bishop of Dunedin.

The Catholic Church has appointed an independent investigator to look at whether Bishop John Kavanagh took proper action when he received complaints of sexual abuse during his tenure, between 1957 and 1985.

The news comes as survivors of abuse in faith-based settings, including the Catholic Church, prepare to give evidence as part of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

Published in Otago Daily Times


Research article: Untold Stories: Male Child Sexual Abusers’ Accounts of Telling and Not Telling about Sexual Abuse Experienced in Childhood

With evidence suggesting that females are more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse (CSA), much of the literature – including that on disclosure – focuses on females. Thus, male victims remain “under-studied”. Given this, the aim here is to contribute to the scant knowledge base on the sexual abuse of males and disclosure by focusing on males whose voices are even more rarely heard than those in the general male popula- tion: those who have perpetrated CSA. The men whose stories are told here had been convicted of, and imprisoned for, CSA in the United Kingdom (UK). They were part of a sample of 101 incarcerated males, 40 of whom reported at interview that they had been sexually abused in childhood. Eighteen of those 40 men are focused on here as they provided some detail as to whether they had disclosed that abuse in childhood or adult- hood, the responses they had received, and also why they had not disclosed. Their narratives shed some much-needed light on the nature of sexual abuse experienced by males, its onset and duration, sexual re-victimization, relationships with perpetra- tors, the diverse nature of disclosure, the extent to which victims disclose and when, the responses received, and why they do not tell. Little is known of these aspects of male CSA. The implica- tions of the findings are considered together with future research directions.

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Author: Susan Roberts
Nov 2020

Operation Arkstone: Childcare worker, soccer coach among group charged with more than 800 ‘abhorrent’ child sex offences

Federal police have rescued 46 kids from the grips of their alleged abusers, including a childcare worker and a soccer coach in one of the biggest child sexual abuse cases ever detected in Australia.

Police in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have arrested 14 men on 828 charges in what investigators have dubbed an alleged “abhorrent systemic sexual abuse” of children, some of whom were just babies.

There were 39 child victims in NSW, one in Queensland, and six in WA allegedly subjected to the production and/or sharing of child abuse material to an online network of Australian and international “peers”.

The operation identified a number of alleged sex offenders in Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand, with 146 international referrals made.

Published in NZ Herald


Teacher accused of sexually grooming, violating teen boys he met on dating app

A teacher picked a 15-year-old boy up from outside his school, drove him to “the middle of nowhere” and tried to have sex with him, a court has heard.

Teacher Edwin John Downing is on trial at the High Court in Auckland. He has denied 13 charges, including sexual violation, sexual conduct with a young person and sexually grooming a young person.

Published in Stuff


Research article: The impacts of child sexual abuse: A rapid evidence assessment

Abstract: The aim of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA or ‘the Inquiry’) is to investigate whether public bodies and other non-state institutions have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales, and to make meaningful recommendations for change, to help ensure that children now and in the future are better protected from sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse (CSA) involves forcing or enticing a child or young person under the age of 18 to take part in sexual activities. It includes contact and non-contact abuse, child sexual exploitation (CSE) and grooming a child in preparation for abuse.

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Primary authors:
Cate Fisher
Alexandra Goldsmith
Rachel Hurcombe
Claire Soares
IICSA Research Team

July 2017

Service centre for homeless to open next year after ‘whirlwind’ Rotary effort

Service centre for homeless to open next year after ‘whirlwind’ Rotary effort

A new hub for Nelson’s homeless is only months away after a “whirlwind” effort from Nelson Rotary clubs and funding from the city council.

The Male Room director Philip Chapman said the daytime shelter, called Whare Haumanu, was a “fantastic effort” from many people and organisations. It is expected to be up and running in March next year.

He said the efforts of the Rotary clubs of Nelson had been crucial for the project, making connections in the community and getting donations of time, expertise and money towards the build.

Published in Stuff


My Journey to Loving Myself Following Sexual Abuse

Historically any article with “self-love” in it has given rise to a feeling of anger in me. Every cell in my body has been rotting in self-hate and loathing for a long, long time now. Any self-love talk made me angry and tempted to vent my resentment and jealousy in phrases such as ‘what sort of a deluded twit writes these articles?” They always seemed to have a skipping-piggy-tailed-Martha Stewart-apron wearing-sunshine-and-long-green-grass-non-harmful-bumble-bee feel to them and they make me angry and cynical!

Published in Psych Central


Publication: Peer Work in Rural and Remote Communities and Mental Health Services (PDF)

Peer Workers are the most underutilised, valuable resource available to rural and remote mental health services and communities. Evidence has confirmed the efficacy of peer work, yet their historically slow uptake has robbed communities and individuals of the opportunity to be supported by staff who can provide an added layer of assistance as part of a multidisciplinary team or beneficial alter- native to conventional treatments…

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Authors: Fay Jackson, Tim Heffernan, Mark Orr, Robert Butch Young, Cherie Puckett, and Susan Daly

Australian police dismantle paedophile ring as 40 charged and 16 children removed from harm

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have charged 44 men and removed 16 children from harm after investigators dismantled a national paedophile ring.

The alleged perpetrators – some of who stand accused of producing their own child abuse material – are now facing a combined 350 charges after a law enforcement referral sparked a nationwide criminal investigation into child exploitation material.

Commissioner at AFP, Reece Kershaw said the year-long Operation Molto had netted offenders in every Australian state, plus the ACT.

Published in Stuff


Abuse, torture and a deep state campaign of denial

It is well established that children were physically and sexually abused in state care in New Zealand over many decades.

But what has always been carefully hidden is the subsequent role of the Crown in deliberately, actively suppressing and stifling the bids for justice by survivors of those crimes.

Today, Aaron Smale reveals the lengths to which the Crown went – via its bureaucratic, legal and political arms – to avoid the blame and liability for crimes committed against minors in its care. The armoury of the state was deployed to stop the public from knowing the extent of this decades-long scandal, causing further trauma and harm to victims in the process.

Published in Newsroom


Uni promises ‘rigorous’ inquiries into abuse allegation levelled at famed composer

Senior leaders at Victoria University of Wellington will gather to consider the “serious” allegations of sexual assault and grooming raised by former students against Kiwi composer, the late Jack Body​.

Body died in 2015, a week after being awarded Arts Icon status – one of the highest honours in the New Zealand arts world, held by only 20 living people at any one time.

Published in Stuff


Stunning claim cardinal ‘paid’ witnesses to convict George Pell using Vatican funds

A senior Italian cardinal has been accused of siphoning A$1.14m of Vatican funds to pay witnesses in George Pell’s sex abuse trial to secure a conviction against his bitter rival.

Italian media are reporting the allegedly corrupt Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu is suspected of wiring the cash to people testifying in Cardinal Pell’s trial to ensure their hostile testimony.

This allegedly occurred during the 2019 trial of Cardinal Pell who was accused of molesting choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s, convicted, sentenced, imprisoned and later cleared.

Published in NZ Herald


Stan Walker opens up about physical, sexual abuse growing up – ‘It stuffed me up for years’

Since bursting into the public spotlight as a round-faced 18-year-old on Australian Idol, Stan Walker’s rags to riches story has captivated us. But his ‘back story’ of physical and sexual abuse has always been confined to two lines, brushed over, he’s forgiven and moved on.

But no more. Stan has more to say, a lot more.

Published in TVNZ


Research article: Developing a Model of Change Mechanisms within Intentional Unidirectional Peer Support (IUPS)

Peers are those with lived experiences of adversity and are commonly utilised in services. However, little is known about change mecha- nisms, resulting in undefined concepts and weak assertions on peer supports’ effectiveness. Further, peer interventions are becoming increasingly common in homelessness services, without the theoretical understanding to support it. This review systematically explores literature to close this gap. Iterative searches from PsychINFO, PsychARTICLES, PubMED, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and grey literature resulted in 71 included sources. Through realist synthesis, a model of client and peer pathways through peer support was developed. Through inclusion of literature from multiple health contexts (i.e. homelessness, mental health, addiction, and criminal justice), the review identified mechanisms of working alliances, role modelling, experience-based social support, and processes of becoming a peer-supporter. The model asserts that 1) the working alliance quality influences client/peer outcomes, 2) clients learn behaviours modelled by peers, 3) peer outcomes are mediated by being a role model, 4) peers provide social support, impacting client/peer outcomes, and 5) training, supervision, and support are directly linked to peer- supporters’ effectiveness.

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By Stephanie L. Barker, Felicity L. Bishop, Elizabeth Bodley Scott, Lusia L. Stopa and Nick J. Maguire
School of Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.