Sexual Violence Court pilot shows trial time reduction

A report evaluating the pilot of New Zealand’s first Sexual Violence Court says pilot cases are proceeding to jury trial about a third faster on average than previously.

The evaluation also says that most complainants feel the pilot’s trials are managed in a way that does not cause them to feel retraumatised by the process.

The pilot has been running in the District Court at Auckland and Whangārei since December 2016 for all serious (Category 3) sexual violence cases to be heard by a jury. The pilot set out to reduce pre-trial delays and improve the court experience for participants.

Published in New Zealand Law Society

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Family of George Pell victim ‘beyond disappointed’ at High Court appeal

Pedophile cardinal George Pell has lodged a special leave application with the High Court to try to challenge his convictions for sexually abusing choirboys.

The 78-year-old pedophile remained behind bars on Tuesday as his lawyers lodged a special leave application with Australia’s highest court.

A spokesperson for the High Court confirmed it had received the application through its Melbourne registry, “requesting leave to appeal a decision”.

Published in SBS

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Childhood horrors laid bare as survivors talk of sexual abuse

Tears have taken up residence behind Grant West’s bright blue eyes.

He is 57 years old, a burly Kiwi living in Australia with bleach-tipped hair and a crumpled leather jacket.

By his estimate, he was sexually abused by 60 to 80 men by the time he turned 18. Just two of them faced justice.

His first abuser was his mother, he says. He was 4.

Published in Stuff

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Catholic Church admits liability for paedophile Gerald Ridsdale’s crimes

The Catholic Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy by notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case which could open the floodgates for victims seeking compensation.

After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake in 1982, lawyers for the church on Friday accepted an amended statement of claim from the victim in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.

Published in The Age

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Report shows $630 million government funding shortfall for community social services – Press release

The government is underfunding social service providers delivering services that are essential to the wellbeing of New Zealand children, families, whānau and communities by an estimated $630 million a year, an independent study has found.

The study found that the government funds social service providers for less than two thirds of the actual costs of delivering the essential services they are contracted to provide, often for some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.

Download the Press Release (PDF)

By Social Services Providers Aotearoa
2 September 2019

Health authorities urged to target growing male suicide

Warning: This story deals with the topic of suicide.

Health authorities are being urged to target a growing number of young men dying by suicide.

Figures released on Monday show 112 of the 685 people to die by suicide in the year to June 2019 were men aged 15 to 24.

More than three in every 10,000 young men aged 20 to 24 died by suicide, and men of all age groups made up 68 per cent of suicides.

Victoria University lecturer Dr Chris Bowden said the high rate was due to the “invisibility of men in previous suicide prevention”.

Published in Stuff

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Kristina Keneally blasts Melbourne archbishop for claiming George Pell is innocent

The Labor senator Kristina Keneally has blasted Melbourne’s Catholic archbishop for his response to Cardinal George Pell losing his appeal against child sexual abuse convictions.

Keneally, herself a prominent Catholic, said she was gobsmacked that Archbishop Peter Comensoli‏ had maintained that Pell was innocent and had questioned whether his victim was mistaken. “It’s distressing for so many reasons,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

Published in The Guardian

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‘He was a witness of truth’: why the judges decided Cardinal George Pell was guilty

On Wednesday, Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal to overturn a conviction of child sexual assault.

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg of the Victorian supreme court published their reasons in a 323-page judgment, along with a seven-page summary.

Ferguson and Maxwell found that the jury’s initial verdict was not unreasonable, while Weinberg, in dissent, said it should be overturned. Below are the excerpts that best summarise why and how that judgment was reached.

Published in The Guardian

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New paper – Circumcision: A controversial topic

In response to concerns expressed within our survivor community, and to foster a more informed understanding of male circumcision as it presents in our contemporary society, MSA commissioned the attached literature review titled “Circumcision: A controversial topic.”

This paper also references another discussion on the ethical considerations of circumcision titled “Genital Autonomy and Sexual Wellbeing”, which has been included in our web Research archive to further inform our readers.

Download the PDF

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Study: The Freedom to be, the Chance to Dream

A study examining the importance of preserving the values and ethos of user-led peer support and self-help in the context of new policies to professionalise peer support.

There is a renewed acknowledgement of the role of peer support in mental health with new government policies calling for the appointment of peer support workers within mental health services. While this is a welcome move, there is also a danger that the values and ethos of peer support, based as it is in self-determination, reciprocity, empathy and shared experience, might be lost given its professionalisation, especially in the context of decreasing resources within the NHS. The report ‘The Freedom to be, the Chance to Dream: Preserving User-led Peer Support in Mental Health’, commissioned by the mental health charity Together and written by Alison Faulkner and Jayasree Kalathil, is based on a consultation with mental health service users and peer support services and their views on these new developments.

Read the full report.

Published in Survivor Research
2012