An Announcement from Fiona

Kia ora koutou,

As some of you may be aware, I am pregnant and will be going on parental leave in May, and will return to the office in January. It’s been an eventful nine years for me with RespectEd, starting as a Coordinator overseen jointly by Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation and WellStop, growing the work and then setting up RespectEd as its own standalone organisation with a dynamic and ever-growing team. I’m looking forward to a change of pace for a while, but am excited to come back early next year.

In the meantime, I am pleased to announce the Acting CEO, Claire Lyons, who will be overseeing RespectEd Aotearoa mahi while I am away.

Claire is a policy and program expert specialising in anti-violence social policy in socio-political environments.  For 10 years, Claire has fostered and led teams and organisations with a people-centred focus while upholding collective values in non-profit and political roles. As an organisational leader, she is committed to working in various spaces that seek to bridge and share knowledge and innovation to address and heal systemic and intergenerational social issues.

Most recently, Claire has spent four years in political-ministerial roles within the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, which has set the direction for a government joint venture and a 25-year national strategy for eliminating both domestic violence and sexual violence. She also volunteers her time to a Pasifika network of sexual violence practitioners.

My last day at work will be 13 May and Claire will be taking over from 16 May.

I know Claire is the right person to lead RespectEd through the rest of 2022, and I’m excited to see what we will achieve as an organisation in her capable hands, and with the support of our skilled board and team. I’ll be keeping up-to-date while I’m away, and look forward to connecting and working with you again in 2023.

Mā te wā
Fiona McNamara
Chief Executive Officer

New Resources for RSE, 2022

At RespectEd Aotearoa, we welcome the release of new sexuality education resources for the teaching of relationships and sexuality education. These resources are inclusive and have been  expanded to include information about consent, digital safety and healthy relationships. We hope that this is the first step to the government making consent education compulsory in schools

We’ve got great news!

After 9 years of being an integral part of the organisation (then called SAPN, short for Sexual Abuse Prevention Network), RespectEd Aotearoa must feel like Fiona’s baby. While this is not technically true (but a matter of fact in all other senses), we have great news: Fiona is expecting, and will be on parental leave in May 2022 for 6 months. All of us at RespectEd Aotearoa are excited and happy for her – we congratulate, wish her well and await her return!

As such, we are on the lookout for a 6-month cover for the role of Chief Executive Officer. We are open to hiring from the open market via a recruitment drive, or as a secondment opportunity for someone currently working in a relevant sector/organisation. If you are interested and suitable for the role, do send us your CV and cover letter to Applications close 3 March, 11:59pm.

For more information, please head over to our Job Vacancies page.

Empowering Diverse Communities

A fantastic announcement yesterday from Minister Marama Davidson of much needed funding for family and sexual violence prevention initiatives focused on LGBTQIA+ people, disabled people, older people and new migrant communities.

Our team has been working alongside other key individuals and agencies as part of the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network to identify the specific areas of need in LGBTQIA+ communities. With a portion of the new funding, we’re now looking forward to being able to get to work on practice guidelines for those working with rainbow identifying people on sexual violence issues.

The funding provides:

• $399,000 for LGBTQIA+ centred violence prevention initiatives, including the development of practice guidelines, healthy relationships and consent resources, and an awareness raising campaign

• $350,000 to mobilise disabled communities to begin the process of addressing systemic barriers faced by tāngata whaikaha, deaf and other disabled people, implement the Safeguarding Framework and grow and strengthen the Safeguarding Adults From Abuse (SAFA) response in the Waitematā to safeguard adults at risk

• $242,000 for new violence prevention initiatives for ethnic communities, including the expansion of the Shama community development programme to six new locations and the expansion of Let’s Talk, plus the development of community conversations and healthy relationship resources

• $200,000 to support the violence prevention needs of older people.

• $250,000 to build relationships and capacity for diverse communities to engage with Joint Venture agencies

• $137,500 for Community Advisory Groups established by Massey University Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) to develop localised violence prevention initiatives and frameworks in five locations.

Read more here:

Pūroro Rangaranga | Social, Cultural and Economic Committee meeting – 2 September 2021

RespectEd Aotearoa participated in the Pūroro Rangaranga | Social, Cultural and Economic Committee meeting held 2 September 2021 and commented on what we would like to see more of as part of The Pōneke Promise. The Pōneke Promise is a coordinated, community driven initiative creating collective change to keep our city safe. Here is a link to the video recording; public participation starts approximately 5 minutes in.

A few highlights:

Thursdays in Black, a student-led, nationwide university student-oriented group that focuses on sexual violence prevention and supporting survivors of sexual violence, was the first to speak. They discuss sexual violence in the context of university students, the correlation of alcohol abuse to sexual harm, and the need for effective preventative measures, such as consent education.

Chief Exec Fiona McNamara of RespectEd Aotearoa comes on after and reinforced the need to “increase focus and spending on sexual harm prevention and response across all ages and to all parts of our community.” Funding needs also to be long-term, to ensure it can be sustained beyond a 3-year cycle. She also outlines some key initiatives that the increased funding would support, such as in hospitality environments. These include bystander training, consent education, and a safer bars accreditation scheme, the latter of which RespectEd Aotearoa has advocated for the past 10 years. Beyond prevention, funding needs to continue to focus on response as well, particularly in services that support survivors of sexual harm as well as services that work with those that do harm.

Following this, representatives from the Wellington branch of National Council of Women State stressed the importance of Wellington City’s commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. This commitment would involve applying a gender lens to all policy and decisions made. The Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan that is currently underway was also praised, but more could be done, such as “develop[ing] a strategy for eliminating sexual violence and unite [complementary] initiatives in this way… [that currently] The Pōneke Promise doesn’t completely satisfy.

Watch the full video on Youtube.

Kia ora koutou katoa, it is with sad but also excited hearts that we announce the upcoming departure of Judy O’Brien, a key member of our Leadership Team. Judy has been our Programme Manager – Community Mobilisation & Organisational Development for upwards of four years, where she was not only part of the programmes delivery team, but was also in charge of planning for the development of the department. She has been an instrumental part of the team guiding our growth, and we thank her for her service. Judy, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

COVID-19 UPDATE: 18 August 2021

The snap lockdown is a huge and sudden change for all of us, but our team of 5 million has done it before, and we will do it again – together.

Staff at RespectEd Aotearoa will be physical distancing and working from home in accordance to New Zealand’s updates. For those in communication with us, we will be in touch regarding rescheduling programmes or transferring meetings online for the time being.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions via our contact form, or through phone at 04 801 8975.

Kia kaha koutou katoa.

RespectEd Aotearoa’s submission on National Strategy for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence

On 30 June 2021, RespectEd Aotearoa made a submission to the Joint Venture for Family Violence and Sexual Violence, towards their development of the National Strategy and Action Plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence.

We urge the Government to recognise the need to increase spending on primary prevention of sexual harm across all ages in our community and within our submission, included a series of recommendations to Government. These recommendations are aimed at ensuring the coordinated effort of key stakeholders and raises key areas for the Government to focus on in order to end sexual harm in Aotearoa.

For more information on 14 recommendations set out, please download the submission below.

Pre-Election Panel Event

Last month we had a thorough cross-party discussion with the panelists and are pleased to share the full recording of the Pre-Election Panel Event on Sexual Violence issues here.

This video has the full korero from the panel but is missing the opening mihi from the moderator and an opening statement from RespectEd CEO. Our NZ sign language interpreters join the call at the 9-minute mark. Thanks for your understanding!