Research article: The Nature and Impact of Informal Mental Health Support in an LGBTQ Context: Exploring Peer Roles and Their Challenges

Research shows that LGBTQ communities experience high levels of suicidality and mental ill health. They also face significant barriers to accessing adequate mental health treatment in service settings. In response to these factors, it is likely that LGBTQ community members turn to their peers for informal mental health-related support. Such support, however, is largely undefined, the extent of it poorly understood and its impacts on those who perform it underexplored.

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Authors: Shane Worrell, Andrea Waling, Joel Anderson, Anthony Lyons, Christopher A. Pepping & Adam Bourne
4 Jan 2021

Government reveals 25-year plan to tackle family and sexual violence

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

A 25-year plan to tackle the amount of violence in New Zealand homes is being unveiled by the government this morning.

The country’s first National Strategy for eliminating family violence and sexual violence, called Te Aorerekura, will see 10 agencies working together.

Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Marama Davidson said Te Aorerekura represents an evolution in the journey to address violence in homes and in communities.

Published in Radio New Zealand

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Tauranga exhibition’s new approach on Lake Alice abuse

The Moral Drift is the name of an exhibition that is on at the Tauranga Art Gallery until January 23rd. The exhibition investigates a partial history of our state care system, uncovering a legacy of abuse and the resiliency of the survivors who continue to seek justice today. It’s a collaborative project using several different mediums and skillsets. The Tauranga Art gallery director, Stephen Cleland explains the concept further.


From Lately
Published in Radio New Zealand
7 Dec 2021

Survivors call for new Government entity to hear allegations of institutional child abuse

John’s* life has been blighted by the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his Catholic school principal.

Forty years on, he is having to appeal to the Marist Brothers for redress, the very institution who employed the perpetrator.

John was shut out of the investigation before being offered a compensation figure he describes as insulting and an impersonal “computer-generated” apology letter.

Published in Stuff

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Research article: Evaluation of PartnerSPEAK

The findings of interviews with peer support workers address how the use of multiple instances of the intentional peer support model implemented by PartnerSPEAK has a mutual benefit for both peer workers and their clients. PartnerSPEAK provides advocacy and support for the non offending partner and family of a perpetrator of child sexual abuse and child exploitation material.

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Authors: Christian Jones, Delanie Woodlock, Michael Salter
Nov 2021

Research article: Living with and Healing from Complex Trauma

Trauma-informed peer support helps create a shared understanding of trauma experiences, the different ways people cope, give and receive support, and recover. It fosters healing relationships, which negate the power and control of traditional therapies.

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Dr Cathy Kezelman AM President Blue Knot Foundation
Irene Gallagher Chief Executive Officer BEING – Mental Health Consumers
Peter Schmiedgen Policy Officer BEING – Mental Health Consumers
October 2021

Catholic church knew of previous complaint against teen-grooming priest

A priest convicted of grooming a teenage girl to send him nude photos was the subject of a previous complaint that was covered up by the Tongan Catholic Church.

The victim’s aunt and an abuse survivors’ group said it showed the church should have prevented Sosefo Sateki Raass’ offending.

The Tongan church gave Raass a good character reference before he moved to Auckland, where he was convicted in 2019 of indecent communication with a person under 16 and subsequently quit the priesthood.

But a complaint had been lodged about Raass in 2006, and the head of the Tongan church, Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, admitted there were repeated rumours about Raass’ behaviour.

Published in Stuff

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Research article: Some recent research on the impacts of childhood sexual abuse on male survivor relationships – including the roles of significant others

Title: The Relationship Experiences of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Qualitative Analysis

Although the experience of sexual abuse is quite common among men, particularly among those in clinical populations, relatively little research has been done specifically with male survivors and the impact of abuse in their lives. More specifically, the impact of sexual abuse on male survivors’ relationship dynamics has been underdeveloped in the research literature. Untapped online data can help illuminate these relationship dynamics, providing insight to clinicians for improved couple and family treatment. Through qualitative analysis of data from online discussion boards at, the present study examined the ways in which male survivors of sexual abuse described dynamics of their interpersonal relationships. Findings revealed impacts from the abuse on male survivors’ relationships as well as impacts of their relationships on abuse recovery. Significant others of male survivors were influential, both positively and negatively, in regard to disclosure, companionship, conversation, modeling relationships, and help-seeking and recovery behaviors. Impacts of the abuse on relationships were reported in emotional, sexual, and relational domains. Further, results gave preliminary insight into how online forums themselves provide opportunities for support-seeking in online relationships and how male sexual abuse survivors approach these online relationships.

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by Jordan Grant Gibby
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University Master of Science

Research article: New research shows that disabled people experience higher rates of violence

This is the first population-based prevalence research exploring experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The researchers also explored prevalence rates of non-partner violence among disabled people.

Researchers from the University of Auckland used data from the 2019 New Zealand Family Violence Survey, which surveyed more than 2800 women and men. The findings were published in two open access articles in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Lead Researcher, Associate Professor Janet Fanslow.
July 2020

New shelter for men escaping domestic violence opens in Queensland, Australia

Sheltered By Grace is a non-government funded Charity which is an accredited, level 3 Support Accommodation service based in South East Queensland that houses Single Men over the age of 25 escaping Domestic Violence. Call 07 3200 7145 for their intake services Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm. A brochure is available at

This is the first domestic violence shelter for men currently operating in Australia that we are aware of (Jeremiah House in Bundaberg, is currently fund-raising to open their shelter). If you know of any others, please let us know. Hopefully this shelter is the first of many others to come.

Published in One In Three
14 July 2021

Survivors rejected: advocate

Southern survivors of sexual abuse are being turned away for important support at an alarming rate, leaving them devastated and re-traumatised, an advocate claims.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) has come under fire for disestablishing its Wellington-based sensitive claims unit, which dealt with physical or mental injuries following criminal acts, including sexual violence, in favour of regional case managers.

Published in Otago Daily Times

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One in Three Campaign – News Articles About Family Violence – NSW inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships claims abusive heterosexual women don’t control their partners except in rare cases

The NSW inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships published its report this week.

The report contains the following sickeningly sexist (and factually incorrect) gendered analysis of coercive control. Apparently men and lesbian women can control their partners but heterosexual women are unable to do so except in (presumably) rare cases.

Published in One in Three

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Lake Alice and the legacy of abuse in state care on Māori

Advocates now calling for the Crown to do more to redress this collective loss to hapū from our “stolen generation”.

For the last two weeks the public has heard testimony from survivors, witnesses and former staff who were at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent unit in the 1970s – almost half of whom were Māori.

Their stories of abuse detailed how the trauma at the hands of the state, alongside being disconnected from their culture, has left a mark that is being felt by their children and grandchildren, reports Corazon Miller.

Published in TVNZ

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Research article: Research confirms that supervision of peer support workers is better if informed by knowledge and understanding of the role

This content analysis of open-ended survey responses compares and contrasts perceptions on supervision from supervisors with experience providing direct peer support services (PS) and supervisors without experience providing direct peer support services (NPS).A 16-item online survey was distributed via the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.) listserv and through peer networks and peer run organizations. Responses from 837 respondents, across 46 US states, were analyzed. Four open ended questions assessed supervisors’ perceptions on differences supervising peer support workers (PSW) as compared to other staff, important qualities of PSW supervisors, roles when supervising a PSW, and concerns about PSWs in the organization. Among NPS and PS, three major differences in themes emerged: the knowledge required of supervisors, understanding of the role of the PSW, and supervisors’ beliefs regarding PSW competencies. PS have a more nuanced understanding of the peer support worker role and the impact of lived experience in the role.

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4 July 2021
Authors: Dana Foglesong, Amy B. Spagnolo, Rita Cronise, Joanne Forbes, Peggy Swarbrick, Jonathan P. Edwards & Carlos Pratt

Abuse, Torture and a deep state campaign of denial

Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of the sexual and physical abuse of children

After years of denial, obfuscation and delays; after police failures to properly investigate; after insulting offers over 13 years of waiting; after multiple allegations and mountains of evidence piling up over decades; after all that and more, the Crown has finally admitted what John Drake’s victims have known all along – he was a paedophile. A serial rapist of children. And an employee of the state who was given control over children for 20 years by government departments.

Published in Newsroom

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Research article: Improving policy and practice responses for men sexually abused in childhood

A significant number of men in Australia are victim/survivors of child sexual abuse. While a growing number of services offer therapeutic support and counselling for men, the issue of men’s sexual victimisation has not become a public policy issue. It is suggested that conceptualising and responding to male sexual victimisation as a public health issue, will help to improve community responses to men and their families.

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Authors: Gary Foster, Cameron Boyd & Patrick O’Leary

A safe space – Place for men to open up and talk about sexual trauma

A SPACE for male survivors of sexual violence has opened up in the heart of Tairawhiti.

The official launch of Te Hokai Male Survivors Tairawhiti was held at 73 Peel Street where Tauawhi Men’s Centre co-ordinator Tim Marshall, former Male Survivors Aotearoa (MSA) national advocate Ken Clearwater, MSA chairperson Phil Chapman, Green MP and former undersecretary for family and sexual violence Jan Logie spoke about setting up spaces like this.

Published in Gisborne Herald

“It has been a long journey to get to this point,” Mr Marshall said.

“Seeds for this kaupapa (mission) were planted well before today’s event and we have Ken Clearwater to thank for that — sharing his own survivor story and creating a safe space for others.”

Tauawhi Trust is the fundholder of the kaupapa. The trust was set up a few years back as a community partner to Tauawhi Men’s Centre and Presbyterian Support East Coast.

Winton Ropiha, a former counsellor at Tauawhi Men’s Centre, will be the peer worker for Te Hokai.

“I’m very fortunate to have whanau in this space with me — knowing what this kaupapa is like as a male survivor myself,” he said.

“The peer support kaupapa will allow myself to create a connection with whanau and hapu. I hope that since this is here and now, whanau who need us will come here.”

Mr Ropiha reminisced about Tangi Hepi, Tauawhi’s first men’s counsellor.

“He saw something in me and I’m very lucky to start this journey,” he said.

Mr Marshall said having Te Hokai as a stand-alone identity, rather than being “just another service of a bigger organisation”, was “a better fit” for the male survivors kaupapa.

Ken Clearwater acknowledged the work of people like Mr Marshall.

“We want to allow safe spaces where a man can open up and talk about trauma without being judged.” Mr Clearwater said.

“That man will start talking and will talk with other men. This will open up the conversation.

“This will be the first kaupapa Maori service for male survivors of sexual trauma so it is an honour and privilege to be here today. I am looking forward to the journey ahead.

“To Winton, don’t carry this on your own. You need to have support around you and I am only a phone call away.”

Mr Clearwater spoke about working with male survivors around New Zealand, including in prisons.

“Over the last few years I’ve been thinking about how can we get more Maori men to work with Maori men. It has been difficult and a real battle. It’s something no one wants to deal with or work through.

“When I first spoke with Winton in 2017 and he said he wanted to do this work, I told him you cannot do it all on your own. I see support in Tauawhi and I think this is a great place to start this mahi (work).”

MSA chairperson Phil Chapman said work in this area nationally only started because of Mr Clearwater.

“We are aware of the pain and suffering these men have gone through for the last 50 years or whatever,” Mr Chapman said.

“It is a huge toll on these survivors. It’s about survivors — that’s what we are here for. We were once never at the table sharing our vision for a national body but we are finally there and have a voice.

“We all play a small part in this and today is just the start.”

Green MP Jan Logie said: “We all know sexual violence is endemic in our country. We all know somebody who knows someone who has been affected by it.

“We spend much of our lives believing that’s not true and that silence around this violence is part of what causes trauma.

“In that silence we create self-blame and stories about ourselves of what was done.

“Ten years ago, as a new MP, I was trying to get funding for sexual violence services, I came from a female viewpoint.

“I didn’t know how prevalent this is for males — how many of our boys were affected by sexual violence,” Ms Logie said.

“I want to acknowledge this as the first kaupapa Maori male survivors service. It’s 2021. How has it taken this long?”

• Winton Ropiha is at training for the next week but can be contacted by cellphone on 0274-124-495 and also through the website

By Matai O’Connor
Published in Gisborne Herald
30 April 2021

Research article: Is peer support effective?

Studies on the use of peers in the mental health field have demonstrated that peer staff have an ability to reach people who have been otherwise seen as difficult to engage. In research conducted by PRCH, peer interventions have been associated with fewer hospitalizations, fewer days in the hospital, longer community tenure after hospitalization, increased hope, improvements in self-care, enhanced sense of well-being in patients, decreased drug and alcohol use, and improvements in quality of life.

Title: Psychotic Disorders: Comprehensive Conceptualization and Treatments

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Edited by Carol A. Tamminga, Jim van Os, Ulrich Reininghaus, and Elena Ivleva
Oct 2020

Research article: How Adults Tell: A Study of Adults’ Experiences of Disclosure to Child Protection Social Work Services

Summary: This paper presents the findings of a study examining adult disclosures of childhood sexual abuse to child protection social work services in the Republic of Ireland. Limited literature indicates that adults can have negative experiences when disclosing childhood abuse; this is primarily owing to a lack of training, policy and guidance for practitioners, and legal complexities regarding allegations of abuse. This study used a biographic-narrative interpretive method (BNIM) to gather the experiences of adults who engaged with child protection social work services. The findings were analysed using both BNIM panel analysis and open, axial and selective coding. Six main themes were identified, and the findings are discussed under three headings: (1) the system as a barrier presents the various influences that acted as barriers for adults coming forward to disclose; (2) issues of power examines the influence of power from the time of abuse throughout the adults’ life courses and their interactions with services; and (3) the system as a facilitator presents practice and policy recommendations based on participants’ narratives and the wider research literature. Implications for child protection practice in this extremely sensitive and sometimes controversial area are considered. © 2021 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Child Abuse Review (2021)
Published online in Wiley Online Library