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Culture change needed to stop sexual abuse

9 November 2015

Culture change needed to stop sexual abuse says specialist agency

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network calls for the whole community to work together to end sexual abuse, following reports on 8 November of a group of male senior secondary school students from an unnamed school assaulting unconscious girls and posting images online.

“We need to be talking to young people about consent and healthy relationships and the same messages need to be reinforced by all parts of society, including schools, parents or caregivers, peers and popular culture” says Fiona McNamara, General Manager of Sexual Abuse Prevention Network.

“Young people are growing up in a culture in which forced sexual acts are normalised and this needs to change. We need to make healthy respectful sexual relationships the norm.”

“Specialist sexual violence programmes educate young people about sexaul abuse and rape culture as well as healthy sexual relationships and strategies to intervene if you see something dangerous. They are an essential part of creating a culture in which harmful sexual behaviour is unacceptable and in which young people are taught the skills to negotiate mutual, respectful sexual relationships.”

“Furthermore it needs to made clear that the behaviour exhibited by these school boys is unacceptable” says McNamara.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is one of several specialist sexual violence agencies in the country that provides education programmes to prevent sexual assault. Programmes are provided in secondary schools, alternative education, youth groups, marae, as well as specialist training for people working with young people. Sexual Abuse Prevention Network is based in Wellington and works nationally with a focus on the Wellington Region. The Network is a collaboration of Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation and WellStop.

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