Dear NZ Govt: Please invest more in preventing, treating and ending sexual violence

An open letter signed by more than 100 survivors, students, and helping professionals

Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern (Source: Hannah Peters/Getty Images Europe)

Tēnā kōrua Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson,

Like both of you, we believe every person in Aotearoa New Zealand should feel safe, welcome and included in our communities.

But as it stands today, around one in three girls will be subjected to an unwanted sexual experience by the age of 16, one in five women will experience sexual assault as an adult and one in seven men will be sexually abused in their lifetime. It is even worse for those of us who come from Māori, migrant, Pasifika and rainbow backgrounds.

This is a plea for your help.

We are calling on you to ensure:

  • All secondary, primary and ECE schools are champions of healthy relationships and consent. This includes training and support for all teachers and administrative staff and the implementation of universal, best-practice, culture and age appropriate primary prevention sexuality education, including education on healthy relationships and consent;
  • There is enough government funding available for nationwide coverage of Kaupapa Māori and other culturally-appropriate and properly resourced specialist sexual violence support services to provide 24/7 early intervention following recent sexual assault and ongoing interventions when and where needed;
  • We have locally accessible, free, best-practice and culturally appropriate services for self-referral by people who are at risk of causing harm as well as those who have already caused harm and want to change their behaviour.

We are survivors, helping professionals, whānau, concerned citizens. Together, we pledge our support for the New Zealand Government to enact these changes to help end sexual violence and abuse in our country for good.

In this #metoo moment, the world needs bold leadership. We thank you for yours.

Ngā mihi (With gratitude),

  1. Conor Twyford, Chief Executive, HELP Wellington
  2. Laura O’Connell Rapira, Director, ActionStation
  3. Sandra Dickson, Programme Advisor, Gender Equal NZ/National Council of Women of New Zealand
  4. Rez Gardi, CEO, Empower Youth Trust, Young New Zealander of the Year 2017
  5. Vanisa Dhiru, President, National Council of Women New Zealand
  6. Terry Bellamak, National president, ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa
  7. Leonie Morris, Centre Manager, Auckland Women’s Centre
  8. Debbi Tohill, Director, Rape Prevention Education
  9. Mengzhu Fu, Youth Coordinator, Shakti
  10. Dr Ang Jury, Chief Executive, National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges
  11. Jackie Edmond, Chief Executive, Family Planning
  12. Kat Doughty, Acting CEO, YWCA, Auckland
  13. Carol Cornsweet Barber, Clinical Psychologist, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato
  14. Maggy Tai Rakena, Manager, START
  15. Sharna-Lee Haimoana, Wellington rape Crisis Kaimanaaki
  16. Tanya Findlater, Student Coordinator of Thursdays in Black Otago
  17. Julie Poirier, Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa, Auckland
  18. Barbara Williams, UN Women National Committee Aotearoa NZ.
  19. Nicola Woodward, CEO Aviva, Canterbury
  20. Nicole Skews-Poole, Activist and Executive Member of ALRANZ Abortion Law Reform
  21. Judith Browne, Co-chair Māori Caucus, Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa
  22. Bex Fraser, Co-chair Tauiwi Caucus, Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa
  23. Anjum Rahman, Campaign for Consent
  24. Silvana Erenchun Perez, Manager, Shama Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre
  25. Gabriella Brayne, Co-coordinator, Auckland Young Feminists
  26. Imogen McIvor, Volunteer Regional Organiser, Amnesty International NZ
  27. Jaine Cronin, Pūkenga Manaaki — Navigator, Te Piki Oranga
  28. Bell Murphy, National Tertiary Liaison, Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa
  29. Vivian Chandra, Facilitator, Ally Skills NZ & Women’s Self Defence Network — Wāhine Toa (Tāmaki Makaurau)
  30. Kath Miller, Kaiwhakahaere — Single Parent Services Waikato
  31. Tiana Mihaere, Tumuaki, Te Roopū Māori (Otago University’s Māori Student Association)
  32. Monique Mulholland and Kyra Gillies, Co-Founders of Students Against Sexual Violence, Otago
  33. Holly Snape, Chief Executive, Community Waikato
  34. Lyn King, Huntly Health Improvement
  35. Rana Moir, Accredited Teacher & Board Member Maori Caucus, Women’s Self Defence Network — Wahine Toa (Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Tokerau)
  36. Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, co-organiser of the ‘March on Midland: Student Rally to End Sexual Violence
  37. Anne Bennett, Manager, YWCA Hamilton
  38. Selina Koloi, Registered Social Worker, Single Parent Services Waikato
  39. Patricia Waugh, Retired caregiver to three great grand daughters (7 and 4yrs)
  40. Rebecca Stringer, Senior Lecturer, University of Otago
  41. Cleopatra Maru Matthews, Policy Analyst & Information Coordinator, Women’s Health Action Trust
  42. Kyla Rayner, Agency Manager, Wellington Rape Crisis
  43. Judi Goldsworthy, President, National Council of Women — Manukau Branch
  44. Lauren Peate, Founder of Ally Skills NZ
  45. Sylvia Baynes, Retired.
  46. Neville Robertson, School of Psychology, University of Waikato
  47. Nive Sharat Chandran, Vice President, World YWCA
  48. Brittany Goodwin, School of Environment, University of Auckland
  49. Carrie Buckmaster, Public Servant, Wellington
  50. Pauline Bennett, National Council of Women Tauranga Branch
  51. Bev Thomas Trustee Te Kura Awhio Trust, Teacher & Board member Māori caucus Womens Self Defence Network Wāhine Toa Tairawhiti
  52. Marianne Bishop, survivor
  53. Maria Rodriguez, New Zealand Red Cross Waikato
  54. Hellen Swales, The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women.
  55. Raewyn Woodhouse Counsellor, Soul Food Counselling and Therapies
  56. Shaleshni Sharma, Office Administrator, Shama Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre Trust
  57. Samantha Rose, Community Development Worker at Shama, Hamilton
  58. Amy Dowdle, Public Affairs Convener and Young Members Co-convener, Graduate Women Otago
  59. Richard Jeffrey, Mosaic, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse support Wellington
  60. Angelo Libeau, Development Coordinator, Rape Crisis Dunedin Inc.
  61. Anna Hendry, Financial Administrator, Rape Crisis Dunedin Inc.
  62. Tabby Besley, National Coordinator, InsideOUT Kōaro
  63. Ranger Advocacy Panel, on behalf of GirlGuiding New Zealand
  64. Cornelia Baumgartner, programme director of Empowerment Trust NZ
  65. Elizabeth Florance, Director. Living Waters — Waiora Ltd. Gisborne
  66. Roz Freeman, Managing Director TheraMAS Ltd
  67. Lucy Connell. Student. Auckland
  68. Denise Sewell. HBNCW , Napier, Mother
  69. Jessica Hughes, Student, University of Auckland
  70. Garth Baker, Consultant preventing men’s violence against women
  71. Leehe Vardi, Andrea Black, Brenda Broughton — on behalf of the National Collective of Rape Crisis and Related Groups Aotearoa
  72. Imogen Spray, Co-Chairwoman, University of Auckland Campus Feminist Collective
  73. Myra Harpham, Hutt Valley Branch National Council of Women
  74. Mike Holloway, Manager, Male Support Services Waikato
  75. Susan Jacobs, MNZM, retired
  76. Kay Whelan, President, National Council of Women, Hawke’s Bay
  77. Jess Frater , coordinator of Rape and sexual Abuse Support West Coast Inc.
  78. Michelle Ihaka, Co-ordinator Wairarapa Rape & Sexual Abuse collective
  79. Jo Wrigley, Community Advocate — People’s Power Advocacy and Community Education, Kirikiriroa-Hamilton.
  80. Michelle Cooper Wairarapa Rape & Sexual Abuse Collective Education Facilitator
  81. Margot Wilson Service manager, Heretaunga Womens Centre
  82. Anne Bennett, YWCA of Hamilton
  83. Gaylene Campbell, Support Worker: Whangarei Rape Crisis. Northland.
  84. Shayne Jeffares Manager Kidz Need Dadz Hawkes Bay
  85. Lee-Anne Ketchen, Manager, Sexual Abuse Support & Healing (SASH), Nelson / Tasman
  86. Sheryll FitzPatrick, Manager Thames Community Centre
  87. Sarah Boyd, Educator, YouthLaw Aotearoa and Rape Prevention Education
  88. Ann Kent, Manager, Abuse & Rape Crisis Support Manawatu
  89. Maria Frewen, Registered Nurse, Queenstown Lakes Family Centre.
  90. Kathleen Sircombe, Girl Guiding New Zealand
  91. Kelly-Ann Harvey, Trustee, Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP
  92. Carmen Shivas, Family Support Worker, Aviva Family ViolenceServices
  93. Sarita Christensen, Otago University (previous support worker for Rape Crisis Dunedin)
  94. Hannah Pretious, Ranger and Guide leader in 2017, University of Otago Gender Studies Student.
  95. Caitlin Doube, University of Canterbury MSLP student
  96. Elise Hilliam, Student, University of Otago
  97. Karen Kyriakoudis, School Guidance Counsellor, Queenstown
  98. Gail Roger, National Council of Women, Tauranga.
  99. Laurice Botica Soroptimist International, Tauranga
  100. Catkin Bartlett, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter & Consumer Repre
  101. Rebecca Rickard, Registered Social Worker, Central Otago / Queenstown Lakes
  102. Judith Lowes, Soroptimist International of Tauranga
  103. Delphine Little, Soroptimist International of Tauranga
  104. Valerie McLeod BSocSci, ECE teacher/caregiver, Hamilton
  105. The Weaving House, Gender Equality, Human Rights Advocacy
  106. Jennifer Hansen, Counsellor and Victim Support Worker
  107. Lisa Bentley, Heretaunga Women’s Centre Committee Member
  108. Rebecca Sanders, Social Worker, Presbyterian Support Otago
  109. Sheryl Robinson, Area Manager Victim Support Central District
  110. Abigail Clark, Welfare Officer of Otago University Students’ Association
  111. Sigrid Lindbom, Health Promoter, MidCentral District Health Board