Sexual violence experts in Northland

By Lindy Laird

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Russell Smith, left, Louise Nicholas, Kim McGregor and Ken Clearwater met Whangarei Rape Crisis (WRC) workers in the organisation's new whanau room. Photo/John Stone
Russell Smith, left, Louise Nicholas, Kim McGregor and Ken Clearwater met Whangarei Rape Crisis (WRC) workers in the organisation's new whanau room. Photo/John Stone

A powerful vehicle for helping professionals help survivors of sexual violence has made two stops in Northland on a roadshow that will include only three North Island seminars.

"Dealing with Disclosures of Sexual Violence" was presented by some of New Zealand's most experienced advocates and workers with the sexually abused, and experts on the dynamics of abuse, Kim McGregor, Louise Nicholas, Russell Smith and Ken Clearwater.

The Northland seminars were in Kaitaia on Monday and Whangarei on Wednesday.

The next will be in Auckland and the other three in the South Island.

The presenters spoke about their own areas of expertise, the prevalence of sexual violence, difficulty people faced disclosing sexual abuse, need for more trained advocacy and the work of organisations such as Rape Crisis.

National Sexual Violence Survivor advocate Louise Nicholas spoke about her years of struggling through seven court trials.

During her final trial against two former policemen and another who had been promoted to assistant commissioner, the jury was not allowed to know the first two were already in jail for a similar act.

Ms Nicholas' justice ordeal resulted in criminal trials, a Commission of Inquiry, a senior officer being jailed for attempting to obstruct the course of justice, and herself being named New Zealander of the year in 2007. Dr Kim McGregor is the executive director of Auckland-based Rape Prevention Education (RPE). Dr McGregor's contribution to prevention programmes and initiatives include school-based programmes, youth booklets, programmes developed by Maori clinical specialists, professional education workshops, raising awareness about sexual violence issues.

Russell Smith, a director of Korowai Tumanako, is a clinician providing therapeutic services for children, adolescents with sexually harmful behaviour and adults who have sexually offended against children.

Ken Clearwater, the manager and a founder of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust, is a leading advocate for support services for men.

Based in Christchurch, Mr Clearwater is a sought after speaker and programme developer at international level.

- Northern Advocate

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