Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

A plea to end sexual violence

By Jessica Tyson
  • Wellington

A new campaign led by community organisation ActionStation is urging the government to better invest in ending sexual violence in New Zealand.

The campaign includes an open letter signed by more than 100 survivors, students, and professionals asking the government to better invest in sexual violence prevention, reduction and treatment. 

ActionStation director, Laura O'Connell Rapira of Te Āti Awa and Ngāpuhi told Rereātea thzt funding is not enough, considering that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

“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," says O'Connell Rapira. 

“It is even worse for those of us who come from Māori, migrant, Pasifika and rainbow backgrounds”.

In the recent budget, the government invested money into the health and sexual violence sector which O’Connell Rapira says “is really, really excellent but unfortunately only about 1.5 per cent of overall government funding goes towards measures to prevent sexual violence”.

“What we would love to see is more investment into things like healthy relationships and consent education in all schools and the training associated with that for staff”.

She’d also like to see more funding towards the treatment of people who’ve been victims of harm as well as better referral services for people at-risk of causing harm to get the help they need to rehabilitate themselves.

Within the open letter, signatories are also calling for nationwide coverage of kaupapa Māori and other culturally-appropriate sexual violence support.

ActionStation is also running an online petition in hope to receive 50,000 signatures by the government's budget in May 2019.

The 109 signatories included in the open letter are from:

  • HELP Wellington
  • Rape Crisis
  • The National Council of Women New Zealand
  • ActionStation
  • University of Auckland Campus Feminist Collective
  • The National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges