Kia ora koutou

As the end of 2017 approaches, it is timely to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the national organisation. Some of the highlights of a very busy year include:


MSSAT Aotearoa, with the support of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) recently hosted a successful international conference in Christchurch focussed on male survivors.

Full credit is due to our National Advocate, Ken Clearwater, and the MSSAT Canterbury team for organising and managing the 6-day conference, which attracted an audience of more than 150 people to converse with leading international and local experts and participate in expert-led workshops concerned with “building bridges’ for male survivors internationally.

For more details about the speakers and the conference programme, please refer to the SSI Conference page on our website Conference Programme

A highlight of the conference was the framing of a resolution urging the New Zealand Government to widen the intended public enquiry to be “inclusive of all institutional abuse, historical and current, of children in New Zealand” and not just focussed on state-controlled institutions. You can see the full text of that resolution here Resolution:


The MSSAT Aotearoa trustees have been working on establishing a national training and qualifications framework for its member organisation peer-workers. This is part of our strategic initiative to ‘credentialise’ our peer support services and thus qualify for increased government funding to enable and support our ambition to provide a national network of quality support services.

Last year we approved a peer-support competency framework and we are currently building a national training strategy. As part of that initiative, I am pleased to report that two peer-workers from our member organisations have successfully completed their NZQA- accredited NZ Certificate in Peer Support.

Congratulations to David Passell (Manager, Better Blokes, Auckland) and Paul Dempsey, (peer-worker, MSSAT Canterbury), who are our first two certified peer-workers.


As part of an ongoing review of our national governance frameworks, we have recently established a new national board committee – Committee for Survivors. The establishment of this new group is intended to ensure that the development and implementation of all of our policies, protocols, practices, communications, and the services we offer, are male survivor-centred.

This quality initiative essentially mirrors the establishment of a services consumer group, which is now a standard requirement for most health service providers in New Zealand.

This new committee, which will meet twice a year, will be chaired by Dugal Armour (MSSAT Otago), ably supported by Ken Clearwater, both of whom are national trustees. The committee terms of reference are embedded in the national organisation Charter, which can be found here Charter: Dugal and Ken will be inviting male survivors, proposed by our member organisations, to join the committee.


We are indebted to our national trustee Bryan Spondre (Operations Manager Better Blokes, Auckland) for his sterling effort in enabling and supporting the implementation of our new national records system, which utilises a home-grown (Christchurch) case management system called, Paua. Bryan, in collaboration with Mike Holloway (Male Support Services, Waikato) and Paul Dempsey and Anne Nicholson (MSSAT Canterbury), has so far implemented the system in three of our five member organisations.

While implementing this system nationally is a requirement for achieving ongoing funding for our services, an important benefit is the potential to collect national statistical data about the incidence of male sexual abuse and the demand for appropriate support services.

Male survivors should be assured that all system information is secure and confidential, in accordance with our ethics and will not include any information that has not been agreed to by the male survivors who use our services. Nor can this information be accessed by anyone without the express approval of the national trustees.

Louise Dixon (Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington), our national trustee for research, is working with Bryan to ensure that the data we collect nationally will be useful in arguing our case for more nation-wide support services for our male survivor community


We continue to work with the Safer Families team from MSD to develop a peer-support services model that will meet government requirements for ongoing funding. The project is progressing well and we expect to have a workable prototype in place by the second quarter of 2018. This initiative continues to be an important national collaboration, which has contributed to building the credibility of our national organisation and demonstrated the potential strength or working together for the benefit of male survivors

It is important to appreciate that this is the first time that male survivors have been engaged as a group at this level of government in a serious exercise aimed at improving national access to our peer support services. It is also notable that MSSAT Aotearoa is acknowledged as the lead male survivor voice in this project.


We continue to develop national policies, which are intended to guide the governance and operations of our Member Organisations.

We have taken a view that, with the exception of our peer-support operational frameworks, these policies are freely available to others on our National website. Two new policies framed during the year were:

  • Working with Offenders; and

  • Health & Safety (with a specific focus on peer-worker wellbeing)


It’s been a pleasure to welcome Louise Dixon and Colin Cross as two new national trustees.

Louise Dixon joins the Board as our trustee responsible for our research activities. Louise is an Associate Professor at Victoria university and Head of the Forensic Programme in the School of Psychology. She is well known for her research interest in female perpetrators of male sexual harm and brings a necessary critical academic credibility to the national research agenda.

Colin Cross is a member of the management committee of Better Blokes Auckland, graduated in economics at Otago University and has a background in education.


The good news is that the current funding for the national activities of MSSAT Aotearoa is assured until June 2019, as is the services sustainability funding available to our member organisations in Auckland, Waikato, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago-Southland. Post June 2019 funding will depend on the outcomes of our current work on developing a new funding model.


2018 is already shaping as another busy and challenging year with an agenda that includes:

  • Launching the Committee for Survivors

  • Supporting the call for a public enquiry into all institutional abuse of children;

  • Completing the peer support service definition and setting service standards;

  • Expanding our training programme;

  • Fully implementing Paua case management in all member organisations

  • Establishing our national research data base; and

  • Trialling a new funding model.

On behalf of my fellow trustees I wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas break

Noho ora mai
Phillip Chapman