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Agencies Work Together Against Sexual Violence

News Release (03 May 05) from Rape Crisis Auckland, Auckland Sexual Abuse

HELP, and the SAFE Network RAPE AWARENESS WEEK: AUCKLAND AGENCIES WORK TOGETHER TO DEAL WITH SEXUAL VIOLENCE

It is clear from daily mentions in the media that sexual violence is an ongoing issue for many. During Rape Awareness Week (2-8 May), it is important to ensure that the community is aware that there are a number of agencies that are specialised in dealing with sexual violence.

These agencies recognise the need to work collaboratively to address sexual violence through prevention education, support and therapy for those who have experienced sexual abuse, and treatment for offenders. These are all aspects of a comprehensive approach.

Over the last decade Rape Crisis Auckland / Whakatu Mauri has developed into an education unit. The agency runs two key programmes that are designed to educate young and old about how to report and deal with current and historic sexual abuse experiences. The BodySafe programme that aims to prevent date-rape, drug-rape and child sexual abuse is taught to school age students aged 13-17 years. The Dealing with Disclosures programme aims to equip any groups in the community including health care professionals, teachers and parents how to respond to and report disclosures of sexual abuse.

The Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation provides a 24 hour 7 day a week sexual assault support service, offering telephone support and information along with support through police processes where a complaint is made.

Referral can then be made for on-going counselling - a team of 9 counsellors and psychotherapists work with children and their families, young people and adult survivors of recent or historical abuse. The agency also offers a pre-school prevention programme We Can Keep Safe to pre-schoolers and their caregivers. The programme aims to decrease the vulnerability of children through equipping them with relevant safety skills and assisting caregivers to know how to deal with disclosures of sexual abuse if necessary.

Safe provides treatment and education programmes for those who sexually abuse children and their families. It has a range of specialised programmes for clients with intellectual disability, young people aged 10-17 years, and for those who sexually offend or participate in sexual abuse using the Internet. SAFE also provides information and counselling to community groups and others who are trying to support or manage someone who is at risk of sexually abusing a child. SAFE recently published a booklet about preventing child sexual abuse called Ending Offending Together - All About Child Sexual Abuse, the People Who Commit It, and How To Stop It. Written for parents and those who care for children, the booklet provides information about how these offenders set up situations for abuse to occur, how to recognise worrying behaviours and what to do about it. The booklet is co-written by John McCarthy, SAFE's Director and two therapists from Child Youth and Family's Psychological Services in Auckland. It is available free from the CYFS Call Centre on 0508 FAMILY.

ENDS

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