Our Rebrand to RespectEd Aotearoa

Kia ora koutou katoa,

The work of our organisation has grown significantly in recent years, as we’ve strengthened and diversified the training and support that we offer. To reflect this development, I’m pleased to share with you today that we are changing our name from Sexual Abuse Prevention Network to RespectEd Aotearoa.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve talked to many of you – our clients, partners, funders and friends – and with your encouragement, we sought out a name that would accurately represent the positive change we have facilitated in your organisations and communities.

We believe RespectEd Aotearoa does that. It reflects the work we do to support social and behavioural change, to build respectful relationships and positive cultures, to work towards our vision of Aotearoa free from sexual harm. 

Thank you to all of you who have supported us on this journey. We look forward to continuing to serve our communities under our new name, RespectEd Aotearoa.

We Need To Talk About Porn – A workshop for parents/guardians

Porn is everywhere! It’s a very different age from when many of us were teenagers and technology has come a long way from having a sneaky look at a magazine in the bushes at school with your mates. If you have a smart phone, you can access pornography and statistics show that many young people do. But how do we talk about it? How do we even start a conversation that makes many of us feel uncomfortable? How do we frame it so our teens aren’t scared off sex or talking to us for good?

Based on work delivered in schools, this workshop will cover how to talk about healthy relationships, consent and how to get your young person to understand how the sex we see in pornography is very different to sex in the real world.

By the end of this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Talk to your teens about healthy relationships
  • Understand what consent is and why it’s so sexy
  • Identify the impacts of pornography on young people – in particular their ideas on relationships, body image and sex
  • Discuss and navigate how to respond to realistic scenarios
  • Feel prepared to have a conversation with your teen about pornography

Sex is a great part of life and we want to raise our children to be adults who have healthy and fulfilling relationships. Having these conversations is one practical step we can take to empower them to do so. Be brave and sign up, even if it makes you squirm just a little.

Education needed to reduce impact of pornography on young people

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says the release of the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s research on New Zealand young people and pornography is an opportunity to look at how New Zealand is educating and talking to young people about pornography as well as broader education about healthy sexuality.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager Fiona McNamara says “While the data presented is concerning, we can reduce the impact of pornography on young people and society more broadly by refocusing how we have conversations around consent, healthy relationships and positive intimate relationships with our young people.”

“The response that is needed is to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education is available to all young people in Aotearoa.”

“Alongside education for young people, there needs to be education for adults who have young people in their lives – this includes parents, teachers and community workers. Adults need to be equipped with the skills to talk to young people about pornography and how to view it critically.”

The research shows that young people think pornography is too easy to access and that it is influencing their sexual behaviour in harmful ways.

McNamara says “Young people themselves have said they need better education to support critical thinking around sex and sexuality rather than allowing pornography to be their main source of sexuality education. It is imperative that this need is met.”

“There need to be alternative positive narratives about sex and sexuality that are even more available to young people than pornography. Young people need to learn about consent, healthy relationships and positive intimate relationships so that there are clear better alternatives to the false constructed narratives in pornography.”

The Office of Film and Literature Classification’s survey of over 2000 New Zealand teens aged 14-17 year olds for the major research project NZ Youth and Porn: Research findings of a survey on how and why young New Zealanders view online pornography revealed that over two thirds of 14 to 17 year olds have been exposed to porn.

For more information or interviews contact Fiona McNamara, fiona@sexualabuseprevention.org.nz or 027 568 8639

The full NZ Youth and Porn report can be downloaded here.

RBG- A film fundraiser for the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network

The Sexual Abuse Prevention Network are hosting a fundraiser screening of RBG!

Join us for this film about the exceptional life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. RBG recently screened during the NZ International Film Festival, so here’s your chance to catch it if you missed it!

Venue: Light House Cinema Cuba

The film will start at 6pm, arrive from 5.30pm to get your snacks etc. Tickets are $20 each.

To purchase transfer $20 per ticket to:
38-9017-0664816-00
Sexual Abuse Prevention Network
Ref: ‘your name’ + ‘film’

Please also email us at emma@sexualabuseprevention.org.nz with your name and how many tickets you’ve bought, so we can add you to the list.

All funds raised will go towards SAPN’s work in the community, providing consent and healthy relationships education programmes to youth and adults.

Accessibility:
Cinema and foyer are wheelchair accessible

Hearing Assistance:
Lighthouse Cuba has two types of listening systems in their cinemas: Induction Hearing Loop, Infrared Headphones.

We Need to Talk About Porn – a workshop for parents/guardians

This workshop is now sold out, please keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements of future workshops

SAPN is running this interactive workshop on Wednesday 5th September (6-8pm) aimed at empowering parents/guardians to have conversations about relationships, sex and pornography with their teens.

Registrations are open now, and please share with others who may be interested!

Porn is everywhere! It’s a very different age from when many of us were teenagers and technology has come a long way from having a sneaky look at a magazine in the bushes at school with your mates. If you have a smart phone, you can access pornography and statistics show that many young people do. But how do we talk about it? How do we even start a conversation that makes many of us feel uncomfortable? How do we frame it so our teens aren’t scared off sex or talking to us for good?

Based on work delivered in schools, this workshop will cover how to talk about healthy relationships, consent and how to get your young person to understand how the sex we see in pornography is very different to sex in the real world.

By the end of this workshop, you’ll be able to:

  • Talk to your teens about healthy relationships
  • Understand what consent is and why it’s so sexy
  • Identify the impacts of pornography on young people – in particular their ideas on relationships, body image and sex
  • Discuss and navigate how to respond to realistic scenarios
  • Feel prepared to have a conversation with your teen about pornography

Sex is a great part of life and we want to raise our children to be adults who have healthy and fulfilling relationships. Having these conversations is one practical step we can take to empower them to do so. Be brave and sign up, even if it makes you squirm just a little.

Click here to register

The value of specialist services collaborating with schools

This week, ACC has announced an $18.4 million investment to roll out its Mates and Dates programme across New Zealand secondary schools. The programme, which has been run in some schools since 2014, is delivered by specialist providers, based externally from the school. Trained educators facilitate five one hour sessions across five weeks, in each year level of high school, totalling 25 hours for each student by the end of Year 13. The announcement of further investment has sparked criticism about why the programme is facilitated by outside providers and not by teachers. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network (SAPN) specialises in delivering consent and sexual violence prevention education programmes to young people in and out of schools and is currently the Wellington, Porirua and Kāpiti provider of Mates and Dates. As General Manager at SAPN, I’d like to share the perspective of my agency on the value of engaging outside providers to do this crucial work, and how collaboration between schools and specialists in sexual harm prevention ensures the best sharing of knowledge, skills, and educational outcomes for students.

Sexual violence is a global problem and an issue that affects all of us, with New Zealand having the highest rate of sexual violence among OECD countries. Sexual violence is too big an issue to be solved in five, or even 25 lessons. Effective culture change requires a sustained long-term approach, which addresses the problem in multiple ways, including the reinforcement of positive messages across our lifetimes.

The relationship between external providers and schools goes far beyond five lessons in each year group, and the collaboration and different expertise of those involved is a strength of this model. Health teachers have a huge amount to offer with their skills as trained teachers, their knowledge of a broad range of health topics and their relationship with students. They play an important role in supporting the programme, including working with the educators to plan programme delivery, reinforcing the messages in the classroom, and providing follow up support to students if questions or disclosures arise after completion of the programme. Our work in schools has included training staff on receiving disclosures of sexual abuse, educating parents and guardians about having difficult conversations with their young people, referring students to specialist support, providing advice and support in response to incidents, co-delivery of consent education with teachers and supporting student-led initiatives – such as events, journalism and art projects.

There is a strong body of evidence that recommends that this education is undertaken by specialist educators, external to the school. The evidence includes international academic research but most importantly, it is what current New Zealand secondary school students have asked for.

When ACC was developing the Mates and Dates programme they surveyed secondary school students. The results showed that the students wanted outside providers to deliver the programme, and for their teachers to be there in the room supporting it. That is the model that is used across the country for Mates and Dates, and it is the model we use at Sexual Abuse Prevention Network for our own ‘Who are You?’ programme.

This work is happening in a society in which rape culture is rife, where harmful attitudes towards sex, sexuality and gender are pervasive and where harmful behaviours, including abuse of power is commonplace. Most people don’t do sexual harm and most agree that it’s wrong in its more extreme occurrences. However insidious behaviors are, by their nature, hard to identify – particularly for the person they are directed at. To communicate the nuances of sexual harm is challenging and requires educators experienced in articulating the complexity of the topic, and who stand strong against mainstream attitudes and beliefs to promote a perspective that is often new or at odds with that of those in the room. Specialist educators are trained to facilitate conversations with groups that may comprise of people who have never spoken openly about sex, sexuality or abuse before, people who are hostile towards the content, people who have experienced sexual harm firsthand and people who have done sexual harm. Often the educators will need to manage a room with all these different perspectives at once and guide the group towards a consensus that promotes respect and consent.

Providing effective sexual violence prevention education requires educators to have an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of sexual abuse, and an ability to communicate these clearly. They need to be trained to receive disclosures of sexual abuse and to know how to refer these on to appropriate support. When our educators receive a disclosure of abuse, our organisation works closely with the school to ensure that student is getting the support they need and to minimise the risk of further harm to the student or anyone else and to consider the needs of the person who did the harm.

Consent education is something that current secondary school students feel strongly about. In 2017, Wellington students marched to Parliament to demand compulsory consent education in all schools. Additionally, a Wellington student started a petition through Action Station, which called for the Mates and Dates programme to be made compulsory in all schools in New Zealand. The petition was signed by 6000 people. This year, Hamilton Girls High School students have launched a campaign to ask the government for compulsory consent education in high schools.

It is fantastic that ACC has responded to these calls from young people by moving towards making a comprehensive programme that focuses on respectful relationships and consent available to all young people in schools. Along with listening to their calls for consent education, we also need to listen to the way in which they are asking for this education to be delivered. The education is, after all, about safety and respect.

This is the unabridged version of an opinion piece published on radionz.co.nz on the 9th August 2018.

Changing ‘work hard, play hard’ culture not enough

“What is needed is specific recommendations for how to change those particular behaviours and attitudes that lead to sexual harm. To transform a culture rife with sexual harm, we need to address those underlying and related issues, but we also need to challenge the harmful behaviours themselves.”

Fiona McNamara wrote an opinion piece on Dame Margaret Bazley’s review of Russell McVeagh for Radio New Zealand on 6 July 2018. Read the full article here.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network supports Wellington City Council’s move to give new Councillor focus on sexual violence

Media release for immediate release 7 February 2018

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network supports Wellington City Council’s move to give new Councillor focus on sexual violence

A spokesperson for Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says it is excellent to see that Wellington City Council has given a focus to sexual violence within the safer cities portfolio.

General Manager, Fiona McNamara says “Wellington City Council has a long history of supporting organisations in the sexual violence sector, but giving responsibility for this to a Councillor ensures that it remains a priority and that we have strong advocate for this issue representing our city.”

“Councillor Fitzsimons has spoken passionately about this issue in her maiden speech, giving us confidence that she will have a positive influence towards changing the culture that allows sexual violence to happen.”

“We look forward to working with Fitzsimons, the Mayor and the council more broadly to develop and implement new strategies to eliminate sexual violence in our city.”

“Sexual violence in preventable and we need to shift the focus to addressing the culture in which it exists.”

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network offers a range of education, professional development and consultancy services to businesses, schools, community groups and other organisations. SAPN works with agencies to develop policies, procedures and safety strategies unique to their organisation.

Programmes include the ‘It’s Our Business programme’ a programme tailored to the hospitality sector that assists staff in developing safety strategies in their bars, trains staff to identify dangerous situations and to intervene before sexual violence occurs, and to respond safely when an incident does happen.

“Every time we run this programme, bar staff all report that they have witnessed sexual harassment in their bars already. They all have a story to tell and want to know what they can do stop this kind of behaviour from happening. There is a need and desire in a broad range of workplaces for this kind of conversation to happen.”

 For more information or interviews contact Fiona McNamara, fiona@sexualabuseprevention.org.nz or 027 568 8639