My Journey to Loving Myself Following Sexual Abuse

Historically any article with “self-love” in it has given rise to a feeling of anger in me. Every cell in my body has been rotting in self-hate and loathing for a long, long time now. Any self-love talk made me angry and tempted to vent my resentment and jealousy in phrases such as ‘what sort of a deluded twit writes these articles?” They always seemed to have a skipping-piggy-tailed-Martha Stewart-apron wearing-sunshine-and-long-green-grass-non-harmful-bumble-bee feel to them and they make me angry and cynical!

Published in Psych Central

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Publication: Peer Work in Rural and Remote Communities and Mental Health Services (PDF)

Peer Workers are the most underutilised, valuable resource available to rural and remote mental health services and communities. Evidence has confirmed the efficacy of peer work, yet their historically slow uptake has robbed communities and individuals of the opportunity to be supported by staff who can provide an added layer of assistance as part of a multidisciplinary team or beneficial alter- native to conventional treatments…

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Authors: Fay Jackson, Tim Heffernan, Mark Orr, Robert Butch Young, Cherie Puckett, and Susan Daly

Australian police dismantle paedophile ring as 40 charged and 16 children removed from harm

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have charged 44 men and removed 16 children from harm after investigators dismantled a national paedophile ring.

The alleged perpetrators – some of who stand accused of producing their own child abuse material – are now facing a combined 350 charges after a law enforcement referral sparked a nationwide criminal investigation into child exploitation material.

Commissioner at AFP, Reece Kershaw said the year-long Operation Molto had netted offenders in every Australian state, plus the ACT.

Published in Stuff

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Abuse, torture and a deep state campaign of denial

It is well established that children were physically and sexually abused in state care in New Zealand over many decades.

But what has always been carefully hidden is the subsequent role of the Crown in deliberately, actively suppressing and stifling the bids for justice by survivors of those crimes.

Today, Aaron Smale reveals the lengths to which the Crown went – via its bureaucratic, legal and political arms – to avoid the blame and liability for crimes committed against minors in its care. The armoury of the state was deployed to stop the public from knowing the extent of this decades-long scandal, causing further trauma and harm to victims in the process.

Published in Newsroom

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Uni promises ‘rigorous’ inquiries into abuse allegation levelled at famed composer

Senior leaders at Victoria University of Wellington will gather to consider the “serious” allegations of sexual assault and grooming raised by former students against Kiwi composer, the late Jack Body​.

Body died in 2015, a week after being awarded Arts Icon status – one of the highest honours in the New Zealand arts world, held by only 20 living people at any one time.

Published in Stuff

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Stunning claim cardinal ‘paid’ witnesses to convict George Pell using Vatican funds

A senior Italian cardinal has been accused of siphoning A$1.14m of Vatican funds to pay witnesses in George Pell’s sex abuse trial to secure a conviction against his bitter rival.

Italian media are reporting the allegedly corrupt Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu is suspected of wiring the cash to people testifying in Cardinal Pell’s trial to ensure their hostile testimony.

This allegedly occurred during the 2019 trial of Cardinal Pell who was accused of molesting choir boys in Melbourne in the 1990s, convicted, sentenced, imprisoned and later cleared.

Published in NZ Herald

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Research article: Developing a Model of Change Mechanisms within Intentional Unidirectional Peer Support (IUPS)

Peers are those with lived experiences of adversity and are commonly utilised in services. However, little is known about change mecha- nisms, resulting in undefined concepts and weak assertions on peer supports’ effectiveness. Further, peer interventions are becoming increasingly common in homelessness services, without the theoretical understanding to support it. This review systematically explores literature to close this gap. Iterative searches from PsychINFO, PsychARTICLES, PubMED, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and grey literature resulted in 71 included sources. Through realist synthesis, a model of client and peer pathways through peer support was developed. Through inclusion of literature from multiple health contexts (i.e. homelessness, mental health, addiction, and criminal justice), the review identified mechanisms of working alliances, role modelling, experience-based social support, and processes of becoming a peer-supporter. The model asserts that 1) the working alliance quality influences client/peer outcomes, 2) clients learn behaviours modelled by peers, 3) peer outcomes are mediated by being a role model, 4) peers provide social support, impacting client/peer outcomes, and 5) training, supervision, and support are directly linked to peer- supporters’ effectiveness.

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By Stephanie L. Barker, Felicity L. Bishop, Elizabeth Bodley Scott, Lusia L. Stopa and Nick J. Maguire
School of Psychology, University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Dilworth School: Former student claims he was caned after reporting sex abuse

Two former Dilworth students have spoken out about their grief and anger over sexual abuse at the school and say the police investigation has come too late.

Seven men with links to the Anglican boys’ boarding school in Auckland have been arrested for historical offending that includes sexual violation and indecent assault.

The inquiry spans four decades going back to the 1970s.

The two former students were at Dilworth during the 1970s – RNZ has agreed not to name them.

Published in Radio NZ

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Research article: Study suggests peer support recovery framework may be relevant for people who are facing the uncertainties presented by Covid-19

The emergence of Covid-19 disrupted most aspects of life, creating a high degree of uncertainty and unpredictability about the future. Knowledge from a place of lived experience offers insights and strategies to better understand how to live, grow and thrive through the difficulties that people who experience mental health challenges, other disabling health conditions, people of color, and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds have overcome. We report on a programmatic effort to investigate how lessons learned through lived experience could be useful to persons who are dealing with a destabilizing situation like this pandemic for the first time, especially mental health providers. Three listening sessions over Zoom were conducted to gather information, views and personal accounts related to the current pandemic. Twenty four people with experience of mental health challenges and people living with disabilities, of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, participated in the sessions. We suggest that the recovery framework can be helpful to address the current crisis; we challenge traditional notions of normality; and finally, we recommend that providers and systems of care adopt a framework that addresses health inequities and human rights.

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Primary author: Ana Carolina Florence
June 2020

Dilworth case ‘unusual’ – Victims advocate

An advocate for victims of abuse in religious institutions says the Dilworth school case is unusual because the accused have ended up in court.

Six men in their 60s and 70s with historical links to the Anglican boys’ school in Auckland have been charged with indecent assault, sexual violation and drug supply.

Police have been investigating the Dilworth claims for a year and have so far identified 17 victims of abuse spanning from the 1970s to the early 2000s.

Liz Tonks, from the Network for Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions, says it’s unusual to see charges laid in these cases.

At a media conference yesterday the Dilworth Trust Board chair Aaron Snodgrass apologised publicly to any former students who had been abused.

Listen to story

By Morning Report
Published in Radio NZ
15 Sept 2020

Six men in 60s, 70s arrested over alleged indecent assaults at Auckland’s Dilworth School

Police have arrested six men in their 60s and 70s as part of an investigation into historical offending at Dilworth School in Auckland.

The men have been charged on a number of serious offences, including indecent assault, which allegedly occured across a number of decades from the 1970s to early 2000s.

Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber said the investigation was launched after a complaint was made a year ago.

Published in NZ Police Facebook and Newshub websites

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Alleged historical sex offending casts ‘dark shadow’ over Auckland’s Dilworth School

School leaders have apologised to former students after six men were arrested on charges of historical sex offending at Dilworth School in Auckland.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Dilworth Trust Board chairman Aaron Snodgrass said the school was “truly sorry” for what had allegedly occurred.

Seventeen victims have been identified so far, police said.
Auckland news: in case you missed it

Published in Stuff

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Research article: Recovery processes within peer provision: testing the CHIME model using a mixed methods design

Previous studies have pointed the need for more research, which explores how peer provision brings about change associated with recovery. This study aims to test Leamy’s framework, which consists of five recovery processes: connectedness, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment (also known as the CHIME framework) within the peer provision context.

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By Grace Zeng, Donna Chung
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

04 Sept 2020

Charities Services declines calls to reinvestigate Gloriavale

Alleged abuse, forced separation of families, poor healthcare, unsafe working conditions for young children. A culture of domination and control.

Yet the Charities Services says these allegations from dozens of former Glorivale members are not “oppressive” enough for it to investigate.

Stuff earlier revealed the Gloriavale Leavers Support Trust met with Charities Services last December and presented a letter signed by 35 recent Gloriavale leavers asking the agency to open another investigation.

Published in Stuff

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Victorian government to review laws stopping sexual assault survivors sharing their story

The Victorian government has announced a review of laws preventing sexual assault survivors from speaking publicly about their experience, hours after a campaign to have them repealed was launched.

Changes to the state’s Judicial Proceedings Reports Act introduced in February made it an offence for sexual assault survivors to publish their stories under their real identities in cases where proceedings were pending or a conviction had been recorded, unless they obtained a court order.

Published in SBS

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Gloriavale’s sexual assault policy asks victims to ‘forgive’ abusers, gives offenders three chances to stop

Sexual assault victims at the secretive religious Gloriavale sect are made to meet with their abuser and forgive them – without police being notified.

Gloriavale leaders then give offenders “second and third chances” to stop offending, along with more rounds of forgiveness and repentance meetings when they fail to stop, before leaders will consider kicking them out of the community.

Any offender expelled for sexual offending is told to contact police themselves. Gloriavale leaders would make a complaint to police if they did not.

This is the policy the Gloriavale Christian Community, a registered charity, proposed for dealing with sexual assault complaints, sent to its government watchdog Charities Services in January for “feedback”.

Published in Stuff

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Research article: The Polite Abuser: Using Politeness Theory To Examine Emotional Abuse

Over the last few decades more and more cultural attention has been paid to intimate partner violence, especially emotional abuse. Follingstad, Rutledge, Berg, Hause, and Polek (1990) established that emotional abuse fell into six distinct categories; however, little attention had been paid to how abusers can utilize polite communication to hurt their partner. Equally, Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory (1987) had never been applied to problematic communication until Austin’s (1990) face attack acts model. This study aimed to understand how polite communication can be used as a form of emotional abuse.

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By Cimmiaron Alvarez
March 2020

Mental Health Peer Specialists and Their Vision for a Civil Rights Movement

Many who have mental illness disabilities suffer from isolation and are disconnected from others. They can experience social anxiety, feel nervous, and be unable to connect or make friends. Some have agoraphobia, where they are unable to leave their home. Past traumatic experiences such as domestic violence or sexual abuse also can cause one to not trust others. Living in an isolated area with little mental health resources can also prevent one from finding trustworthy people. With isolation, there is a lack of social support, and opportunities for allyship with others are scarce. Some may not even have support from their families.

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By Neesa Sunar
3 August 2020

Royal Commission launches separate probe into Marylands abuse

Abuse of children at Marylands School in Christchurch from the 1950s to the 1980s will be the subject of a special Royal Commission investigation.

The Royal Commission looking into the abuse of children in state and religious institutions has announced it will inquire separately into events at Marylands.

Marylands was a residential school for boys, many with learning disabilities, run by Catholic brothers of the St John of God order.

The commission is asking for victims, families, staff, witnesses or anyone else with knowledge of abuse at the school to call them confidentially on 0800 222 727.

Published in Stuff

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Social Sector Commissioning, Progress, Principles and Next Steps

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has recently released a document on Social Sector Commissioning – Progress, Principles and Next Steps. It does just that – covering commissioning in its broadest sense – “planning, engagement, funding, procurement, monitoring and evaluation that need to be undertaken though third-party providers to ensure people whānau and communities who need support get the support they need.”

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Assault and care characteristics of victims of sexual violence in eleven Médecins Sans Frontières programs in Africa. What about men and boys?

Often neglected, male-directed sexual violence (SV) has recently gained recognition as a significant issue. However, documentation of male SV patients, assaults and characteristics of presentation for care remains poor. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) systematically documented these in all victims admitted to eleven SV clinics in seven African countries between 2011 and 2017, providing a unique opportunity to describe SV patterns in male cases compared to females, according to age categories and contexts, thereby improving their access to SV care.

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‘Our mahi carries on’

A commitment from government to include groups who work with victims and perpetrators of family violence in any plan to end family violence was the aim of a march to Parliament.

Tauawhi Men’s Centre co-ordinator Tim Marshall, SafeMan SafeFamily (SMSF) founder Vic Tamati and Male Survivors Aotearoa (MSA) national advocate Ken Clearwater led a hikoi on to parliament grounds on Thursday to ask the Government to commit to creating a cross-party strategy to end family violence.

Published in Gisborn Herald

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Male survivors of sexual abuse trekking to Parliament on horseback

Male survivors of sexual abuse are trekking from North Canterbury to Parliament on horseback to send a message to politicians about the need for better protection for children.

Ken Clearwater, the national advocate for peer support group Male Survivors Aotearoa, was one of nine riders to start the nine-day journey to Wellington on Monday.

On arrival at Parliament on August 6, they plan to ask as many politicians as they can to commit to giving a voice to victims.

Published in Stuff

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Former Scout leader James Morris sexually abused children for 40 years

The former Scout leader James Morris has caused untold damage to the children he sexually abused over a period of 40 years.

Morris, also known as Ian Charles Phipps, is now waiting to receive his fourth jail sentence and this time it could be forever.

Stuff can now reveal that Morris has a string of convictions for child sexual abuse and was sentenced to preventive detention in 1997.

Published in Stuff

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Peer Support in Mental Health: Literature Review

Background: A growing gap has emerged between people with mental illness and health care professionals, which in recent years has been successfully closed through the adoption of peer support services (PSSs). Peer support in mental health has been variously defined in the literature and is simply known as the help and support that people with lived experience of mental illness or a learning disability can give to one another. Although PSSs date back to several centuries, it is only in the last few decades that these services have formally evolved, grown, and become an integral part of the health care system. Debates around peer support in mental health have been raised frequently in the literature. Although many authors have emphasized the utmost importance of incorporating peer support into the health care system to instill hope; to improve engagement, quality of life, self-confidence, and integrity; and to reduce the burden on the health care system, other studies suggest that there are neutral effects from integrating PSSs into health care systems, with a probable waste of resources.

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By Reham A Hameed Shalaby*, MD; Vincent I O Agyapong*, MD, PhD
May 2020

The lasting toxic effects of former Catholic Marist brother Kevin Healy

A Catholic Marist Brother told a girl he sexually assaulted to push rotten tomatoes into her face because she was so “ugly”.

The victim no longer lives in New Zealand, but the toxic memories of Kevin Healy’s offending are a constant reminder of betrayal, fear and anger.

The 81 year old, previously known as ”Brother Gordon”, was sentenced to nine months of home detention when he appeared in the Napier District Court on June 5, after pleading guilty to four charges of indecency between a man and boys aged 12 and 13, and one of indecency with a girl aged under 12.

The offending occurred between 1976 and 1977 when Healy was a member of the Marist Brothers and an active school teacher in Wairarapa.

Published in Stuff

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Intentional Peer Support Newsletter June 2020

IPS Statement of Support

Intentional Peer Support stands with all marginalized peoples, especially those of color experiencing harm at the hands of police and those with system and institutional power. We stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow organizations who condemn and are outspoken in their fight against white supremacy in the U.S. and throughout the world.  This disregard of basic human rights is ubiquitous, malicious, and must be challenged at every turn.  The death of George Floyd – at the hands of police – is yet another graphic reminder of the systemic racism and violence that is increasingly pervasive and incompatible with basic human rights and the values we uphold.

Published in Intentional Peer Support

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A role for lived experience mental health leadership in the age of Covid-19

In 2020 an invisible assassin has swept across the world, creating chaos, confusion and uncertainty. Covid 19 has taken many people’s health, some people’s lives and the lives of loved ones. It has destroyed livelihoods and put the financial futures of billions at risk. We are helpless, there is nothing to fight back with. We are trapped, we have to stay in our homes. We are physically isolated, our usual freedoms and way of life suspended…

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By Louise Byrne & Til Wykes
23 May 2020

Coming back from the brink

Isolated, lacking support and not able to see his children Ryan* didn’t know where to turn.

Suicidal thoughts had started to creep in with isolation compounding the issue.

Family members encouraged him to reach out for help and gave him the number of a free counselling service provided by Male Support Services Waikato during lockdown.

Published in Sun Live

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‘You grow up hating yourself’: why child abuse survivors keep – and break – their silence

Earlier this year Erin Delaney revealed on Facebook a secret she’d kept from almost everyone.

As a child she suffered physical and emotional abuse and severe neglect. The neglect had significant consequences, including a fractured skull from falling – which was only picked up when, after she vomited at school the next day, a member of her extended family intervened and took her to hospital.

Published in The Guardian

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Catholic Church’s legal deluge compounded by damning Pell findings

The Catholic Church is facing hundreds of civil claims by victims of clerical sex abuse, bolstered by the royal commission’s findings about Cardinal George Pell’s role in the “catastrophic failure of leadership” in the Ballarat diocese.

The royal commission’s finding that Cardinal Pell knew nearly 40 years ago of the church’s practice of shifting notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale to different parishes to avoid scandal is likely to bolster the cases of abuse survivors who must demonstrate a breach of duty of care to successfully sue the church.

Published in Sydney Morning Herald

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The hidden findings on George Pell are now clear: he could have protected children from abuse. He didn’t

This is the portrait of a deceitful man. We have waited over two and a half years but now we can read the unflinching verdict reached by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Cardinal George Pell.

With its last findings made public, it’s clear that no senior figure in any church who gave evidence to the commission has emerged as damaged as Pell.

Published in The Guardian

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