Kia ora koutou
As the end of the year approaches, it is timely to reflect on the achievements and
challenges of the national organisation over the last six months. Some of the highlights include:
“When bad things happen to good boys” …stories from despair to hope in Nelson, New Zealand
In September a brave group of Nelson-based survivors self-published a book which recalls their personal experiences of sexual abuse. The book is a ‘raw and emotional read’ that reminds us all of the tragic impacts of sexual violence perpetrated on young boys.
These survivors also participated in the New Zealand Bristlecone project which was part of the international male survivor conference held in Christchurch last year (https://www.canterburymuseum.com/whats-on/the-bristlecone-project/).
The book was officially launched at the Whakatu Marae and to honour the courage of these survivors in publishing their stories, their Bristlecone photographs were returned to the Marae for the launch event. You can purchase a copy of the book on the MSA website.
THE ROYAL COMMISSION
In April this year Male Survivors Aotearoa (MSA) made a formal submission to the Royal Commission (https://malesurvivor.nz/resources/). Since then we have had several meetings with the Commission Chair and the General Manager to advocate for changes to the original draft terms of reference (TOR) to include all survivors of sexual violence and not just those abused while in state care.
The revised terms of reference, recently released, do include survivors of abuse within faith-based institutions but still do not include all other organisations e.g. sports organisations. There is also concern about how survivors will be admitted to the enquiry with a possibility that legal vetting will retraumatise people who wish to have their story heard.
MSA will continue to advocate for inclusion of all survivors arguing that it is unfair, unjust and inequitable for the New Zealand government to discriminate against specific groups of survivors.
ENGAGEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT
It has been a busy year engaging with the Labour government’s wellbeing agenda, which includes a major assessment of sexual and family violence along with related issues within the justice sector.
MSA trustees, along with myself and Ken Clearwater, have been active participants in the many forums, seminars and workshops ensuring that the male survivor voice is clearly heard. And our member organisations have also been active participants in regional forums and workshops.
The range of MSA’s engagement during recent months is clearly evident in the participation of our people in the following forums and events:
Committees and Projects
- uTOAH_NNEST, Ending violence together – Mike Holloway (MSA, Waikato);
- ACC Consumer Advisory Group – Ken Clearwater (MSA); and
- Working Group on Sexual Violence – Tony Chamberlain (MSA).
Forums, Workshops and Seminars
- MSD Family Violence Workshops (in several centres);
- Justice Summit Wellington – Phillip Chapman, Louise Dixon, Ken Clearwater, Mike Cagney (MSA);
- Oranga Tamariki Workshops – Ken Clearwater (MSA);
- Ministry of Justice Family Violence Workshop – Ken Clearwater (MSA);
- Whanau resilience workshops – MSA member organisations represented at Auckland, Waikato, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin; and
- Education session for the Catholic Bishops Conference – Phillip Chapman.
Meeting with The Minister
In November, Tony Chamberlain and I met with Minister Sepoloni to acquaint her with the challenges facing MSA and its member organisations. The essence of our conversation can be found in a brief summary attached to this update.
We are hopeful that our representations, in particular our concerns regarding the service-demand pressures for our Waikato and Otago members will result in some interim relief funding for those organisations.
NEW RESEARCH PROJECT
MSA has launched its first research project – “Examining the journeys of adult male survivors of sexual abuse and the services they need: identifying effective practice and gaps from a ready model of peer support in New Zealand.”
I will be a co-investigator in a research team led by Associate Professor Louise Dixon (MSA Trustee – Research) and supported by Dr. Chris Bowden (University of Wellington) and David Mitchell (Lecturer, NMIT School of Health).
The project, which is generously funded by a special MSD research grant of $80,000, is expected to report later in 2019.
OUR NATIONAL ADVOCATE
Since appointing Ken Clearwater to this role last July, he has been very active doing what he does best – championing the voice of male survivors in national and international conversations about sexual violence. Some of the highlights from Ken’s busy year so far include:
Presentations and Training for…
- Museums Annual Conference re Bristlecone Project;
- Corrections Staff at their Annual Conference in Auckland; and
- Training sessions for new recruits at the Police College.
- Dame Susan Devoy, Human Rights Commissioner looking at abuse in institutional care;
- Joshua Tabor, CEO of Scouts NZ, looking at what we can do together for survivors who come forward;
- Corrections management and staff (three meetings) on how we can work together better with staff counsellors and others working with male survivors;
- Catholic Bishop of Dunedin regarding support for faith-based survivors;
- Canterbury Police District Commander looking at a more effective working relationship with MSA;
- Minister of Defence Ron Mark regarding men who have been subjected to sexual violence with the Defence Force;
- Sir Anand Anand Satyanand, Chair of the Royal Commission of Enquiry (with Phil); and
- Gary Foster and Patrick O’Leary (Brisbane) re Royal Commission work and Defence Force.
And a nice surprise in December – Ken received a well-deserved civic award for services to male survivors of sexual abuse…congratulations Ken.
We are pleased to welcome The Road Forward Trust (RFT) as provisional members of Male Survivors Aotearoa. This development restores our national connection with a Wellington based peer-support service for male survivors and we are currently working with the trustees to expand the Wellington service.
RFT peer-workers Richard Brewer (Manager), Mike Cole and Taylor Champion will participate in our February peer support training and an RFT trustee will join the national board as an observer pending full admission planned for July 2019.
Dugal Armour (Manager) and Tone Miller at MSSAT Otago have experienced a substantial increase in demand for peer support services resulting from the recently publicised abuse scandals involving Catholic Church schools and the establishment of the Royal Commission of Enquiry.
MSA, in collaboration with MSD, is supporting MSSAT Otago to establish two new peer groups in Dunedin to deal with men abused in faith-based and state-based institutions. Three new peer-workers will join the MSA intentional peer support training course in February.
Mike Holloway at Male Support Services Waikato (MSSW) is experiencing unprecedented demand for all of their male support services. For example, since the establishment of the Integrated Violence Response pilot in the Waikato, Mike has dealt with over 500 (unfunded) referrals, all of whom require some level of peer support. MSA is working with MSD to increase the peer support resources at MSSW – essentially a short-term interim response to a longer-term services funding issue.
Following a referral from Mike Holloway, MSA are evaluating an opportunity to establish a member organisation in Tauranga and provide peer support services for male survivors in this region. More about this development in the new year.
PEER SUPPORT TRAINING
Our commitment to provide peer support training for member organisations continues with 34 participants registered for two new Nelson-based courses scheduled for early next year.
- Introduction to Intentional Peer Support (4-days, February, 1 seat available)
- Advanced Intentional Peer Support (3-days, March, booked out)
Our intention is to further develop our own national training capability by appointing two national trainers who will complete the IPS train-the-trainers course, hopefully later in 2019 or early 2020.
Better Blokes (Auckland and Northland) have recently trialled their new Peer Group Facilitator training…more on that in the new year.
The current MSD funding agreement for MSA and our member organisations expires as at June 30, 2019. MSA have expressed their disappointment that the MSD-sponsored service development project did not continue to consider funding options. At this time, we have an expectation, but no assurance, that appropriate funding will be available from July 1, 2019.
In September MSA lodged a funding proposal with MSD. That proposal anticipates a fee-for-service arrangement with base funding assurances for small member organisations and continuity of funding for the national organisation. We are hopeful of feedback on our proposal once the sector funding arrangements become clear.
F2019 is already shaping as another busy and challenging year for the national organisation with a forward agenda that includes: –
- Supporting male survivors around the public enquiry into the abuse of children;
- Working with MSD and ACC to explore funding options and to confirm future long-term funding arrangements for MSA and its member organisations;
- Expanding regional services with an immediate focus on Wellington, Otago and hopefully Tauranga;
- Sustaining and expanding our national training programme and developing our national information system; and
- Progressing our national research agenda.
On behalf of my fellow trustees,
Noho ora mai
Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou