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Sexual Abuse Support Service Shines Light on Church Abuse

Sexual Abuse Support Service Shines Light on Abuse in the Church

A local support service for survivors, HELP, is hosting a screening of an award winning film about child abuse to shine a light on the impacts of sexual abuse on children in care.

“Don’t Tell” is one of the most important films to show in New Zealand in years. The movie is about a young Australian woman who took the Anglican church to court for abuse she suffered as a child. The case changed Australia’s child protection and state care policies forever. HELP’s Executive Director, Kathryn McPhillips, hopes that it will spark debate about how historical abuse has been addressed in New Zealand.

“In New Zealand, we have people like Ken Clearwater, who has tirelessly worked to support survivors of sexual abuse in church care who have sought justice” says Kathryn, “But it takes a lot of persistence to be heard and make change. It takes all of us to challenge the toxic culture that sees sexual abuse covered up.”

“New Zealand is the only Commonwealth country to have never had an independent investigation into historic institutional child abuse. Currently survivors need to file a claim with the state saying what happened to them, and if it’s accepted, they will get an apology and possibly some compensation. That’s very different from a full and independent investigation that can tell us why the abuse happened, why it wasn’t stopped, why it was allowed to go on for so long, and what changes need to be made so that systemic cover-ups don’t happen again..

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“Many survivors live with the consequences of sexual violence every day. They are the ones who suffered its aftermath; whose stories were disbelieved and discredited”, says Kathryn. “They are the ones who have borne the psychological, social and financial consequences of major trauma, yet their needs are not being addressed as they should.” says Kathryn.

“We hope that Don’t Tell gives survivors the courage to speak out, and New Zealanders the drive to hold churches and the state to account for the suffering their staff caused children in their care so that it can never happen again.”

Don’t Tell – ASB Waterfront Theatre, 6.15 – 7.55pm, Thursday 3rd August. All proceeds go to HELP’s work supporting survivors of sexual abuse. Director Tori Garrett will be joining for a Q&A and drinks after the screening. Tickets $25pp, purchase them by making a donation:



HELP Auckland is an Auckland-based not-for profit working to end sexual abuse in New Zealand for good. HELP provides crisis and therapy services, covering a population of 1 million. Sadly, sexual abuse is all too common in NZ, with 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys likely to be sexually abused before their 16th birthday, and 20% of women having experienced a serious sexual assault.

HELP provides a 24/7 crisis line and emergency call-out service for recent assaults, police interviews and medical examinations. HELP’s counsellors give face-to-face individual & family therapy for children and families, teenagers, and women. HELP’s counsellors supports survivors during the justice process, and also during restorative justice processes.

HELP have recently launched for young women for 13 to 18 year old girls. Em is a campaign to empower girls, featuring interviews with girls and women talking about how they got through tough times. It helps them to connect with loved ones and embrace their strengths. It also includes info about how to cope after sexual abuse for the 1 in 3 girls who may be sexually abused.

HELP is also passionate about preventing sexual abuse. Small children are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. Our flagship programme, We Can Keep Safe, teaches children how to stay safe from sexual abuse, and their caregivers how to keep their children safe.

Learn more about HELP at:


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