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Stories of Change Latest Focus of Glenn Inquiry

Stories of Change Latest Focus of Glenn Inquiry

People rebuilding their lives after childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence, and organisations trying innovative ways to help them, are the subject of the latest work completed by the Glenn Inquiry.

Stories of Change, Moving Beyond Violence is accompanied by video interviews with those who want to share their stories to encourage and offer hope to the thousands of New Zealanders in violent or abusive relationships or trying to recover from painful pasts.

The stories outline their paths to ending dangerous relationships and understanding how the violence and abuse has affected them. The report explores drivers for change, actions they took, how they coped and what helped them build better and healthier futures.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, former MP Dr Jackie Blue, is among those who talk frankly about living in a violent relationship, when they realised they needed to get out and how they started over to build lasting healthy relationships.

The report also tells the stories of three organisations working with victims and their families, and how they have developed and tailored their services to best cater for the special circumstances of their communities. Te Whakaruruhau works within a Māori cultural framework; Aviva aims to keep women and children safe in their own homes, rather than a refuge; and the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust uses a male peer-support model.

For the individuals featured, the report identifies that being believed, love of a friend or family member and being repeatedly asked if they were safe were among the key supports that helped people break away from a cycle of abuse.

The report notes that although there is no one right path to recovery, there are signposts and opportunities for intervention that could better let individuals and families access support services. “This needs to include improved government agency practices that reduce anxiety and the sense of re-victimisation for complainants,” the report says.

The report finds that acknowledging abuse does not mean people always know what to do about dealing with it, or are ready to deal with it: The real change for people began once they recognised their behaviour or environment was preventing them from having the lives they wanted: “Many of the participants emphasised the critical importance of accepting themselves.”

One of the subjects featured in the report resolved that the best form of revenge was success:

“I wasn’t going to let the abuse define me and that if I didn’t overcome this then they were right and I was worthless. It drove me for years,” she says.

Stories of Change follows last month’s publication by the Glenn Inquiry of The People’s Report: The People’s Inquiry into Addressing Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.

Along with other work under way, the two reports will feed into a Blueprint for Change the inquiry plans to complete later this year.

Both reports and the video interviews are available on the inquiry website:

www.glenninquiry.org.nz.

ends

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