Building a sustainable national network of support services for male survivors
In 1991 in Christchurch a client asked his Counsellor how he could go about meeting other men who had experienced similar childhood trauma. Together they formed a peer support group and in 1997 members of that group registered Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (MSSAT) as a Charitable Trust. The following year ACC declined support for males abused by females – a stance that remained until 2004 when the law was changed.
In 2007 a New Zealand conference for male survivors celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the formation of MSSAT and the MSSAT Auckland (now Better Blokes Inc.) hosted its first peer support group meeting. In 2008 MSSAT Waikato (now Male Support Services Waikato) was established and MSSAT was invited for the first time to participate in discussions about sexual violence.
In 2012 MSSAT Wellington was formed and MSSAT Auckland extended its services to Northland (Whangarei). In this year the Journal of Child Abuse [UK] published its investigation based on MSSAT survivors’ experience. The following year MSSAT held its first National Hui, MSSAT Otago was established and the Male Room began to offer support services for male survivors in Nelson.
The second MSSAT National Hui was held in 2014, the same year that the a major report on MSSAT, commissioned by ACC, resulted in the Government approval of a package of $740,000 in sustainability funding for MSSAT organisations. The following year a third National Hui agreed to establish the national organisation – Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Aotearoa New Zealand [MSSAT Aotearoa].
From 2015 to the present time MSSAT Aotearoa has focussed on the establishment of its national governance frameworks, formation of national policies and protocols; the establishment of a national qualifications framework for its peer-workers; and the development of a national case management system. Recently MSSAT Aotearoa has embarked on a service development programme with the Ministry of Social Development, which hopefully will enable a services funding model that will enable MSSAT Aotearoa to fulfill its ambition of providing “all male survivors of sexual abuse with access to a sustainable national network of appropriate, high quality support services”.