Kia ora koutou
As we close out another successful financial year there is much to reflect on and much to celebrate. We have come a long way since we formed Male Survivors Aotearoa over five years ago. With six member-organisations supporting more than 1,000 men across Aotearoa we are now recognised as the official and authentic voice of New Zealand’s male survivor community both throughout Aotearoa and abroad.
Recognising Ken Clearwater
Ken Clearwater’s recognition in the Queen’s Birthday honours 2019 as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) is a very fitting tribute to our National Advocate – a man who has dedicated his life to the services of male survivors across Aoteroa and beyond.
Since first publicly sharing his own story nearly 30 years ago, Ken has enabled countless men all over the world to get the support they need to survive their experiences of sexual abuse. He can take immense pride in his work over the years and this organisation stands as a tribute to his efforts to make sure that the voice of male survivors is heard and that people everywhere care about their wellbeing.
“Nobody does this work for the recognition and it’s humbling to be acknowledged for it,” Clearwater said. “I think what I’m most proud of about it is it brings the issue of male sexual abuse to the fore.” [Photo and text published in Stuff NZ]
Since attending his first peer support group meeting in 1991 Ken has been a tireless advocate for male survivors, joining the inaugural Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, which was formed in Christchurch in 1997, where he was appointed manager in 2001. In the years that followed, Ken was instrumental in lifting the profile of male survivors within Government, influencing legislative change and achieving tangible support for the peer-support work that remains the backbone of MSA’s services to this day
He was instrumental in the formation of male survivor support organisations in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington resulting in the formation of the national organisation in 2013. And he helped establish the South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys (SSI), which is now a recognised international movement to better represent male survivors in countries around the world.
Simply said, Ken has not only been the face of male survivors in New Zealand for nearly 30 years, he has driven essential changes that have helped countless men in New Zealand to access a recovery pathway towards a better future.
The Labour Government’s wellbeing budget (May 2019) announced a $11.5m package to provide peer support services for male survivors over the next four years.
This announcement represents the culmination of five years of dedicated work by the Board of MSA, with the support of its member-organisations, to build a solid case for funding this essential service for who have experienced sexual violence.
We are grateful our friends in ACC, who initiated the study that established a blueprint for a sustainable service and for our colleagues in the Ministry of Social Development who have supported the development of our peer-support services over the last three years. The invitation from Government to partner the development of our work in Aotearoa was a major step forward.
And now, finally, we will have access to funding to make the difference we have been hoping to make for survivors across the country.
MOU with the Catholic Church
“A new agreement between the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin and a survivors’ support group could provide a national template for healing, both groups say”
Following an increase in the number of men disclosing sexual abuse within the Catholic church in New Zealand, and anticipating further disclosures resulting from the Royal Commission activities, MSA decided to seek an agreement with the Catholic church in Aotearoa to provide support for these men
In March 2019 MSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Catholic Bishop of Dunedin, Michael Dooley, which provides for Male Survivors Otago (MSO) to provide peer- support services to men who have been victims of sexual abuse while in church-based institutions within the Dunedin diocese. Services provided by MSO to men referred by the church will be funded by the church and there are appropriate referral safeguards to assure the quality of the services provided and to protect the confidentiality of survivor information.
The intention was, and still is, for this arrangement to set a standard for referrals across New Zealand. However, the proposal has not yet received acceptance from the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, and unfortunately we remain pessimistic about the church supporting this initiative on a national basis.
What can we say? …except to applaud Michael Dooley for supporting this initiative to help faith-based male survivors within his Otago-Southland community.
Our man in the Waikato – 10 years of selfless service
It is with considerable pride that Mike Holloway can look back on his 10 years providing support services for male survivors in the Waikato. From humble beginnings, his commitment, tenacity and sheer hard work has established MSA’s largest member-organisation supporting more than 400 survivors with a full range of trauma services – peer support, counselling and social work. Supported by his colleagues Ken Clearwater and Dave Passell he established a fledgling service that has overcome considerable odds to become the ‘well-oiled machine’ that Waikato survivors enjoy today. Always pushing the boundaries, and challenging funders to imagine the difference they could make, Mike has forged a successful multi-faceted service that provides a wide range of support services for men and their Whanau
Celebration in the Waikato was characteristically low key but this key milestone in the development of sexual abuse service for New Zealand’s male survivor community should definitely not pass unnoticed.
Mike is deputy chair of the national organisation, a role that reflects his stature amongst male survivors and his selfless contribution to improving the wellbeing of men affected by sexual violence.
He is looking forward to his first real holiday in 10 years as expectations of funding relief from the Government’s wellbeing budget promises to provide much needed resources to sustain and grow his work in the Waikato.
Intentional Peer Support
Intentional Peer Support continues to gain momentum as the essential philosophy underpinning MSA’s peer support services. Following another successful introductory course held in February attended by 20 peer-workers, another 15 MSA peer-workers attended our first advanced course held in Nelson in March.
The scale of this training effort reflects MSA’s commitment to upskilling our peer-workers to expand the services we can offer and so honour our ambition to “create a sustainable national network of quality support services for all male survivors in Aotearoa”
MSA is also involved with a CareerWorks initiative to build a new NZQA approved certificate course in peer-support. This reflect our ongoing commitment to credentialising (intentional) peer-support as a valid care and recovery strategy for survivors, which is a necessary focus for establishing credibility within the sexual violence services sector and achieving sustainable long-term funding.
Continuing focus on quality service
MSA Supervision Policy has now been updated to align our national supervision approach with the IPS philosophy and a new standard supervision agreement has been developed to encourage member organisations to adopt a best practice approach to supervision (MSA Policies). These initiatives underpin an ongoing focus on assuring the wellbeing of our managers and peer-workers, which is a critical component in assuring the quality of our peer-support services and the safety and wellbeing of the male survivors in our care.
National Service Standards. MSA have recently adopted a set of national service standards for the provision of peer-support to male survivors (Quality Standards). These standards, which have been derived from the standards developed by Male Survivors Partnership (Manchester, UK) and adapted for the New Zealand environment, are intended to set a benchmark for organisations that seek Government funding for the provision of peer-support services for male survivors. It is important to ensure that the limited pool of Government funding is only allocated to organisations that meet these standards and can demonstrate their capability, capacity, commitment and an appropriate focus on supporting male survivors.
Our National Advocate
Ken Clearwater, our national advocate, continues to be active in his role promoting the interests of male survivors throughout New Zealand and overseas. Some highlights from activities and conversations during the last quarter of the year:
- Conversations with the Royal Commission, including the Chair and CEO, and involvement with the “ambassadors for survivor” groups, advocating for more support for survivors presenting their stories to the Commission;
- A meeting with Ron Mark, Minister of Defence, concerning the men who have been sexually assaulted while serving in the Defence Forces and a conversation with the leadership of the RSA to advocate for an agreement for MSA member organisations to provide support for survivors referred by the RSA;
- Working with survivors in Christchurch to present the CTV documentary “Challenge the Silence” including facilitating an opening event hosted by Ta Mark Solomon; and
- Attending the 4th South-South Institute in Kampala Uganda (120 participants including 40 male survivors,) reconnecting with old colleagues from the first summit in 2013 and participating with survivors in the two-day Victims Summit.
Ken is always available to participate in events and conversations that advance the cause of male survivors in Aotearoa. If you are aware of opportunities to promote the interests of our male survivor community please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Bay of Plenty
The establishment of a new male survivor support service in Tauranga (Male Survivors Bay of Plenty) is on track for opening in July 2019. This first ever collaboration with a crisis agency – Bay of Plenty Sexual Assault Support Services (BOPSASS) – will give male survivors in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty area access to a full range of peer support and counselling services. And the peer-support services will be operating from dedicated premises, right next door to BOPSASS.
We are grateful to the Board and management of BOPSASS (thanks Blair and Catherine) for their support with this initiative, to Mike Holloway for his initiative in seeding the opportunity, and to Russel Hayter who will be ‘our man in Tauranga’.
We are pleased to acknowledge the level of local support for this development which is already evident in the generous support of local funding agencies and the level of local interest in joining the Board…watch this space!
We are pleased to welcome The Road Forward Trust (TRFT) as a full member organisation of MSA and our go-to peer-support centre for our Wellington based survivor community. We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of Richard Brewer and his team to who have steered the trust through some challenging times. Without their commitment and determination to build a viable for male survivors in Wellington, this development would not have happened. MSA trustee Mike Cagney who has championed this new membership, will continue to help guide the ongoing development of our Wellington service centre.
A simple change of name from MSSAT Otago to Male Survivors Otago is part of a changing scene in Otago that we hope will strengthen our presence in this region.
We expect to welcome some new Board members, establish a more visible presence in Dunedin, build some new service alliances, increase the focus on Central Otago and refresh our digital presence – a few of the expected external signs of a developing service centre.
We owe a lot to our retiring long-serving trustees. In particular Tess Paterson and Julien Gross who along with Sean O’Donaghue have been the governance backbone of this emerging service centre. We are actively recruiting new trustees and seeking a permanent operating base in Dunedin city. We will also be looking for service alliances that will provide a more effective presence in Southland
The Royal Commission
We stand by our original submission to Government that the scope of the Commission, limited by time and place of abuse, is unjust and unfair (refer Royal Commission) Notwithstanding the inclusion of people abused in faith-based institutions, there are still many survivors who will be excluded and who have equal rights to justice and should have an equal opportunity to be heard.
As the national organisation representing male survivors we continue to caution our membership regarding their expectation of outcomes as we observe the unfolding organisation and operation of the Commission.
We have expressed our concerns to Commission management regarding the processes for facilitating survivor participation and in particular the level and quality of support they will have access to.
Its early days…but the jury’s definitely out!
The year ahead is already shaping as another busy and challenging year for the national organisation with a forward agenda that includes a focus on:
- Delivering our national research project;
- Enhancing our ability to work with Maori and Pasifika survivors
- Strengthening all of our regional services with a particular focus on Northland, Bay of Plenty, Otago and Southland
- Sustaining our national training programme and improving the quality of our services; and
- Co-framing with Government a forward funding regime for our member organisations that enables our ambition to “establish a sustainable national network of appropriate high-quality services for male survivors”.
On behalf of my fellow trustees,
Noho ora mai
Ngā mihi o te wā me te Tau Hou