Good in the Hood: Vote for SAPN!

Vote for us to receive a share of $4,000 from Z Vivian Street!

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is one of the four groups being supported through Good in the Hood at Z Vivian Street. That means we’ll get a share of $4,000but how much depends on how many votes we get.

To vote for us, all you need to do is buy something from Z Vivian Street during May and you’ll be given an orange token to put in the voting box (or if you’re a Z card holder, you’ll get two votes!).

So please head down to Z Vivian Street during May and vote for us! You can also support us by encouraging people you know to vote too by posting on Facebook or Twitter.

Job Opportunities with SAPN

The application process for these jobs is now closed.

Demand for SAPN’s programmes is growing and we’re excited to be recruiting for three positions: Programme Co-ordinator, Educator (fixed term), Educator (casual contract)

Check out our Job Vacancies page for more information.

Specialist sexual violence service supports calls from youth for consent education in schools

Specialist sexual violence prevention organisation, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network supports the calls from secondary school students for compulsory consent education in schools.

Widely publicized incidents in Wellington schools over the last week have prompted calls from secondary school students for compulsory consent education. Wellington secondary school students led a march to parliament last week to demand the education and a petition has been launched on online campaign platform, Action Station.

“We’ve heard what the young people are saying and we absolutely support their demand. It is essential that we teach young people about consent and healthy relationships. Who knows better what young people need than young people themselves?” says Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager, Fiona McNamara.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network specialises in providing education to young people that teaches young people to recognise the signs of abusive relationships and promotes healthy relationships and consent. SAPN delivers several well developed courses in the Wellington region, including their “Who are You?” programme and ACC’s “Mates and Dates” programme. However, the organisation says that its capacity to be delivering in all schools is currently stretched due to insecure resourcing, and that other specialist providers throughout the country are in the same position.

“The government needs to make consent education a priority and fund the delivery of effective specialist programmes accordingly” says McNamara.

All young people would benefit from access to education about healthy relationships. “We need programmes to be in every year level in every school. It is important that students receive this education each year at school. We are talking about cultural overhaul – this is not a quick fix where we see behavioural and attitude change after one lesson. Messages that promote healthy positive sexuality need to be reinforced throughout a students’ experience at high school. Additionally, it is important that specialist training and support is also available to teachers to support their ability to reinforce the messages and respond appropriately when issues arise.”

If you or someone you know needs support on matters relating to sexual violence, please contact the National Sexual Violence Service on 0800 88 33 00.

For more information or interviews, contact Fiona McNamara, fiona@sexualabuseprevention.org.nz or 04 801 8975

Recent incidents at Wellington College and St Patrick’s Silverstream

SAPN was disappointed to hear about the conversations within a private Facebook group of senior Wellington College students.

It is never okay to engage in sexual activity with an intoxicated person, and any such contact is illegal. Moreover, the idea of “taking advantage” of someone defies the definition of consent.

Likewise, it is disturbing to read reports of younger students at St. Patrick’s College Silverstream making intimate visual recordings of female staff members.

It’s clear that young men in New Zealand are being exposed to extremely problematic attitudes towards women, and that these attitudes are translating into harmful actions. SAPN hopes that we can broaden the conversation and use these events to encourage change – both within these schools, and in wider society.

There has been a strong focus on the individuals who made the various comments – but it is important to recognize the culture around these individuals that allows them to think that their behaviour is acceptable. Whether it’s the students who ‘liked’ the posts, or the many who saw the comments and said nothing – we need to recognize that these are not one-off, isolated incidents.

Likewise, the question about whether these attitudes have transferred into actions supports the myth that it only ‘counts’ as sexual violence when a physical interaction has occurred. A culture that allows young men to communicate in this way, without any intervention, provides a pathway to extreme physical sexual violence. Excuses like “boys will be boys” only create space for these harmful attitudes to thrive.

Teenage boys laughing about sexual relations with intoxicated young women on Facebook is all too familiar to the NZ public, and to question whether “banter” ever evolves into physical harm is to ignore all the evidence in front of us.

This afternoon, Fiona, Michael and Kyla (General Manager of Wellington Rape Crisis) met with headmaster Roger Moses and senior staff at Wellington College.

It was heartening to hear how seriously the school is treating this issue, and we spoke about encouraging a ‘whole-school’ approach to preventing attitudes and incidents like this.

We have outlined future plans – both short and long-term – that include up-skilling staff and student leaders, and more dedicated time and resources for classes on healthy relationships, consent, and bystander intervention.

Wellington College are committed to leading the way in creating cultural change – we hope that other schools will take their lead, and that we’ll see reduced rates of sexual violence to reflect this.

The standard that you walk by is the standard that you accept.

SAPN wins a Grace Gives Grant!

We are excited to announce that SAPN has won a $1,000.00 grant from Grace Gives!

Grace Gives is an initiative from Grace Removals, who generously support community organisations throughout New Zealand who:

  • Focus on communities which are excluded or disadvantaged
  • Create relationships and environments where people are empowered to help themselves & each other
  • Actively involve people and communities
  • Build inclusiveness
  • Involve approaches that are likely to bring about solutions to complex problems

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who voted for us to receive this grant, which will we use for professional development contributing to the advancement of our staffs cultural knowledge, allowing us to build skills for cross-cultural work that serves Māori in a positive way; ultimately deepening the organisations understanding of the relationship between colonisation and sexual violence. We would like to work towards using Māori models and approaches in our work but first need to develop the understandings and skills within our team to facilitate these with integrity.

Congratulations to all the other organisations who received this funding, and thank you, Grace Gives!

For more information on this fund, you can have a look at the Grace Gives website here.

Vote for SAPN!

We need your votes to win a $1000 community grant from Grace Gives. A generous initiative from Grace Removals. Click here to vote now. It really does take just a few seconds. We’d hugely appreciate you circulating it around your networks too.

If we are successful, this grant will contribute to time and professional development towards advancing the cultural knowledge of our staff, in order to deepen our understanding of the relationship between colonisation and sexual violence, and to build necessary skills for cross-cultural work that serves Māori in a positive way. We would like to work towards using Māori models and approaches in our work but first need to develop the understandings and skills within our team to facilitate these with integrity.

NZ Beer Calendar Fundraiser

The team behind the NZ Beer Calendar is at it again. If you’re part of the beer or hospitality industry, you can  feature on the calendar. If you’d generally like to support this fun project and valuable fundraiser for us, you can donate or buy a calendar. This year, we are offering an It’s Our Business course, or places for individual staff on a course, for donors from the industry. All details on the calendar’s PledgeMe

New Zealand rugby has opportunity to take the lead in transforming harmful sport culture

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is glad to see the Chief Executive of New Zealand Rugby, Steve Tew, admit that they had handled an investigation of a recent sexual assault claim poorly. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network yesterday released a statement to the media highlighting the inadequacy of an ‘in-house’ investigation into the assault that occurred at an end of season Chiefs function. Tew last night acknowledged that “recent events show we [Rugby New Zealand] have not got it right.”

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager, Fiona McNamara, says: “It’s good to see that New Zealand Rugby has finally conceded that they handled this situation badly. We hope this means Rugby New Zealand will follow up with a robust review of policies and procedures around respectful relationships, as well as taking a critical look at the sport-wide culture towards consent.”

“We are disappointed to see that Steve Tew has continually insisted this morning that the allegations were not substantiated given that he accepted the internal investigation was mishandled. We also hope Mr Tew can appreciate that not being believed, and not being supported in judiciary systems, is a significant factor in why less than 9% of sexual assaults are ever reported to New Zealand Police. New Zealand Rugby’s focus needs to shift away from those results, and onto problems with respect within their institution.”

“We have reached out to Rugby New Zealand and offered consultation and training on sexual violence, respect and consent.”

“New Zealand rugby now has the opportunity to take the lead in transforming harmful culture in New Zealand sport.”

Chiefs ‘in-house’ investigation imitates society-wide power imbalances

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is disappointed at Rugby New Zealand’s decision to conduct only an in-house investigation of the recent alleged sexual assault at an end of season Chief’s function.

The investigation came at the same time as a similar complaint from a woman working an end of season function the previous year, and Chiefs player Michael Allardice was witnessed making homophobic slurs at the same function as was subject to the current investigation. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager, Fiona McNamara, says “That all three of these incidents have been raised at once shows clearly that the Chiefs have a culture problem.”

“It was inappropriate for the investigation to be carried out by the General Legal Counsel for New Zealand Rugby. Scarlette was the final person interviewed as part of the investigation. This meant her full account could not inform the questions put to the 11 purportedly ‘independent’ witnesses.”

“The imbalanced power structures in this case imitate the larger, society-wide responses we see to sexual violence. Teams like the Chiefs, and other groups holding powerful positions in New Zealand, have the privilege of closing ranks around each other. They have access to powerful lawyers, public relations managers, and enjoy the ‘hero status’ of sports-people in New Zealand public. These privileges are not shared by Scarlette, or other victim-survivors of sexual violence.”

“That the team members received a ‘collective’ warning, rather than individual repercussions for their behaviour on the night of the function, illustrates perfectly how team culture – in sport particularly – can act to diminish personal accountability for gendered violence such as this. Further, the warning was regarding hiring a stripper for the event, rather than any abusive behaviour on the night. This takes the focus off promoting respectful treatment of women, and promotes the idea that people engaged in sex work are the source of the problem.”

“The actions of the team on the night have been variously called ‘a little slip up’, ‘boys being boys’ and ‘inevitable’, with blame being levelled at Scarlette as frequently as it has been at the players. What is most disheartening is that the Chiefs failed to take up an enormous opportunity to begin transforming toxic masculine culture in sports and rugby.”

A woman who was hired for the Chief’s end of season function as a stripper came out in days following stating that she had been subject to various incidents of abuse during the rugby team’s end-of-season function on 1 August at the Ōkoroire Hot Pools. The woman, who asked to be known as Scarlette, said some players indecently assaulted, threw gravel and chanted lewdly at her.

New Zealand Rugby Council investigated the incident, and decided to take no disciplinary action against the team, bar issuing a collective warning to the players.

Vinyl Bar employees undergo sexual violence prevention training, following criticism from patrons of handling of a sexual assault

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network yesterday facilitated a sexual violence prevention workshop for approximately 20 employees of Hospo Gurus.

Hospo Gurus manage five venues in Wellington, including Vinyl Bar on Courtenay Place.

‘It’s Our Business’ is a programme created specifically for hospitality staff and owners. It focusses on sexual violence awareness, bystander intervention, and creating a shared response plan should an event arise. Hospo Gurus contracted Sexual Abuse Prevention Network to deliver this training following a recent incident of sexual harassment at Vinyl Bar last month that sparked outrage on social media.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager, Fiona McNamara says “It is great to see Hospo Gurus taking the events that occurred last month seriously. Not just the sexual harassment itself, but also their response to the incident in the following days.

“We know that alcohol is the most commonly used drug to facilitate sexual violence and that it is a factor in 50% of all sexual assaults in New Zealand. We also know many people have experienced and continue to experience sexual harassment in bars – so commonly that it is sometimes labelled ‘inevitable’.

“But it’s not. We need to stop tacitly permitting sexual violence – which is what we are doing when we fail to provide safe spaces for patrons, or when we don’t respond appropriately to incidents of sexual violence.

“Hospitality providers are part of the solution. We need bars that are consistently intolerant of sexual violence, and bar staff that are on the same page about how incidents of sexual harassment and violence should be treated. When we create positive consent cultures in these spaces, we see better outcomes for everyone who visits them.”

“Hospo Gurus has taken a valuable step in putting their staff through ‘It’s Our Business’. We hope to see all bars in Wellington (and everywhere else, too) follow suit.”

Leon Magowan-Wilson, one of the owners of Hospo Gurus says “We found the ‘It’s Our Business’ workshop extremely helpful in highlighting to our staff the sexual violence satiations that can be present in hospitality environments. The workshop was especially valuable in that it focused on specific ways in which we as hospitality operators should be treating potential future situations, as well as working towards developing a group-wide policy that commits all of us to wiping out sexual violence at our establishments. We strongly encourage other hospitality businesses to take advantage of this specialised training.”