MEDIA RELEASE - Tuesday 27 September, 2022
Layba Zubair, creator of the consent law reform petition, will formally deliver its 12,177 signatures to parliament with supporters calling for reforms to New Zealand’s antiquated laws. The petition reflects an outcry from young people about the need for an affirmative definition of consent.
“The current state of our consent legislation is failing both survivors and communities. It has been encouraging to see significant growth in the movement for consent law reform, and we hope that Parliament takes this opportunity to bring the law more in line with public expectations of sexual behaviour,” says Kathryn McPhillips, Executive Director of HELP Auckland, a charity providing specialist sexual abuse survivor support services.
“This petition calls for clear and affirmative consent laws to keep our youth safe. Reformation of the law will allow us as a country to take a step forward towards creating a safer Aotearoa and contribute to creating a system that supports survivors of rape and assault. We are calling for legislation that will provide a clear positive definition of consent and recognise the need for free and voluntary agreement at the time of the act. This will better reflect healthy sexual relationships and assist people to know consent must always be present,” says Layba Zubair.
The petition handover has been organised by the Dear Em team, Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington HELP, RespectEd, Wellington Alliance Against Sexual Violence, HELP Auckland and Thursdays in Black. The Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson, will receive the petition outside of Parliament. A number of MPs from across the different parties have also confirmed their attendance to witness the presentation of the petition.
“The presentation of the petition to Parliament is an opportunity for the community to rally around this cause and amplify the call for change. Without clarity in the law about what constitutes consent, it leaves some people confused, thinking that it is OK to do sex to another person without consideration of the physical and emotional impact of their behaviour. If the law clearly defined the importance of free and voluntary agreement at the time of the act, it would support the social changes that young people are calling for” says Kathryn McPhillips.
Kathryn McPhillips, Executive Director for HELP Auckland, responds to the lack of protections for children and young people in New Zealand facing sexual abuse.
In light of the recent guilty verdict of a man who faced 33 charges of child sexual abuse at the Manukau District Court, HELP Auckland is calling for the Government to review and amend laws around consent. The media narrative and public opinion expressed outrage that a defence lawyer stated a 12 year-old plaintiff was having consensual sex with a man 20 years her senior. HELP Auckland shares this outrage and wishes to shed light on a lesser known part of the problem… That our law currently permits these unethical arguments.
Under the Sexual Violence Legislation Act (2021) judges should disallow questions they consider to be improper or unfair. Although this should reduce situations like this occurring, it is not enough. As it stands, New Zealand law allows adults to accuse children of having consented to sex if the charge against the adult is sexual violation. We can see from the report, That’s a lie, from the office of the Chief Victims’ Advisor, that some defence lawyers are insinuating that children as young as six years old have consented to sexual abuse by a grandparent.
As specialists in the field of supporting survivors of sexual violence through the criminal justice system, HELP Auckland knows these are not unique or isolated cases. The Youth19 survey of New Zealand high school students found that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys had experienced sexual abuse through their lives. The figures are staggering, and our laws are currently inadequate.
We urgently need to amend consent law in Aotearoa to clarify that children cannot be considered to have consented to sexual activity with an adult. Sexual behaviour between adults and children is always the responsibility of the adult, and children hold no blame for what is done to them. Young people are also calling for reform to protect them. Without clarity in the law about what constitutes as consent, many think it is okay to have sex with someone if they are unable to physically object or say no.
“It is integral that we have clear and affirmative consent laws to keep our youth safe,” said youth activist Layba Zubair. “Reformation of these laws will allow us as a country to take a step forward towards creating a safer Aotearoa, and to contribute towards creating a system that supports survivors of rape and assault.”
Some jurisdictions addressed these issues years ago - Tasmania and Canada have long required people to obtain consent. In late 2021, New South Wales also adopted laws which require a person to confirm if the other person consents before the sexual activity occurs, rather than to just assume. It is time for Aotearoa to do the same.
Dear Em, a collective which provides a platform to empower and support young women, have joined forces with Layba Zubair to launch a petition urging the House of Representatives to reform our consent law. Please join us in signing the petition, and follow their movement @consentlawreformnz on Instagram.
Challenge yourself to Do Something HELPful
Small actions can make a big difference, so we’re challenging Aucklanders to Do Something HELPful and raise funds for HELP Auckland.
You can HELP your friends or whānau, your community, or the environment; things like helping out at a school, going plastic-free for a month, collecting rubbish in your neighbourhood to help the environment, or doing a random act of HELPfulness every day for a month. Get some ideas here
Gather a group of friends or whānau, and make a team. You could win up to $600 worth of prizes for yourself or your team for the most funds raised by an individual or your team.
View some of our prizes here.
Are you a business with a HELPful product? HELP raise funds by creating a special product display or promotion during May with a percentage of profits going to HELP Auckland.
You’ll not only be helping others (or yourself), you’ll also be helping support survivors to heal, protecting our most vulnerable people from sexual abuse, educating our community, and creating real social change to protect future generations too.
Sign up here today
Laura and Millie are supporting #DoSomethingHELPful by selling sharing the load sweaters
Of course first mention must go to our lovely ambassador, Laura Eustace, who has partnered with her friend, the marvellous Millie Grant, to create special edition sweatshirts to sell, with all proceeds going to HELP to support survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
These wonderful slogan sweaters will only be on sale for two weeks and stocks are limited, so don't delay in making your purchase! Follow this link to the shop: https://sharetheload.myshopify.com/
Thank you Laura and Millie for being a voice for survivors; you are amazing wāhine and an inspiration.
Tamara Waugh, survivor and advocate for change, visited The AM Show last Tuesday to share her story and raise awareness of sexual abuse and its prevalence in New Zealand.
You are an inspiration, Tamara! This video may be distressing to some viewers/listeners.
Laura is supporting #dosomethinghelpful this May. She is selling t-shirts, hoodies, and stickers that support HELP Auckland’s work. Laura is also sharing her story. Some of you may find this story challenging. Kia kaha Laura. We are so proud of you. (Laura is bottom right with the family dog)
Click here to view the article.
Order T-shirts/Hoodies/Stickers for HELP here
Tamara, survivor and board member, delivered a powerful speech about how HELP Auckland supported her to recovery. It occured not with just one therapist but many staff to enable her to heal to live the life she has now. To listen to her speech click here
Do Something HELPful - May 2021
Small actions can make a big difference, so HELP Auckland is challenging Aucklanders to Do Something HELPful during the month of May and raise vital funds for HELP Auckland.
Participants pledge to Do Something HELPful during May - for themselves, their family, workplace, community or environment. They ask friends and whānau and sponsor them through an online funding platform - and raise vital funds for HELP Auckland.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys may be sexually abused by adulthood. It’s time to do something about it - sign up to the Do Something HELPful challenge in May and HELP protect future generations from sexual abuse.
To be launched at our HELP & Soul event May 4th. Sign up now and you could win tickets to this event with Holly Smith and Tayla Alexander performing.
HELP & Soul event raises nearly $8,600
An evening to remember in a stunning venue, light opera and modern soul music that will dazzle you and all for a great cause occured.
Special thanks to Gilmours Mt Roskill, Ripe Deli and Alexander PR for their ongoing support.
Sexual Violence Legislation to once again go before Parliament. We encourage all to approach their MPs in support of this legislation giving survivors a fairer trial. Opinion supplied
Paulette Benton-Greig, ex Help Auckland staff. The bill currently before Parliament will help complainants “feel more at ease, give clearer and better evidence, and be less harmed by the process”. Click here to read more.
Wellington Girls’ College student Lauren Hardie was recently sent home to change her clothes after endangering male teachers with her tank top. In much the same way as I threatened men and boys about 30 years ago, the 17-year-old dared to wear a top showing a bit of flesh, and was shamed for it. The difference between what happened to Lauren and me is she and her mates didn’t stand for it, and the school did the right thing. Eventually.
This story has an excellent video of students at the school talking about body shaming and dress coding. They express how they did not accept this! Click here to read the story and view the video. We encourage you to share this on your social media!
Postponed until May 4th
6pm to 8.30pm
An evening to remember in a stunning venue, light opera that will dazzle you and all for a great cause.
Entertainment: Tayla Alexander is an award-winning young opera singer.
Wine, craft beer and canapes provided
Tickets: $65 pp or $120 for two. (You will receive a receipt which is your ticket to the event).
Funds raised support survivors of sexual abuse to heal and help prevent sexual abuse. Buy tickets below or scan this QR code.
After the challenges of COVID we finally managed to host our annual fundraiser 'Colour Me Purple'. Close to 100 people attended and it was a great night with Ali Mau as MC, The Fan Brigade comedy duo and Jan Hellrieger, singer and writer.
Special thanks goes to our sponsors and auction suppliers Gilmours Mt Roskill, Jo Thompson our marvelous volunteer caterer, Ripe Deli, Farrah’s and Countdown Mt Eden. Wine and craft beer from Tantalus Estate Vineyard, Craggy Range, Soho wines, Planet Wine, Constellation Brands and The Garage Project. The flowers were done by Mt Eden Roses Florist.
The Cottage at 108 the Pah and Mazda Auckland who supplied the main raffle prizes.
Kathryn McPhillips, Executive Director and Clinical Psychologist, addresses about how talking with a specialist counsellor who can guide you through the process of addressing the impacts of sexual abuse or assault, can assist you to moderate strong feelings, understand yourself, and re-process memories of the experience.
To watch the video click here.
Thanks to our 21 runners and walkers at the Auckland Marathon we raised over $10,000. This is amazing and we are so grateful. Special thanks to Grace Kukutai and her team who raised $5,000. If you would like to help us with events like this contact supporthelp!helpauckland.org.nz
Two more videos on how to keep our children safe. Feel free to send these onto your communities. These are the last two videos of this series and all well worth watching. Click on photographs to view these videos.
HELP's Kathryn McPhillips continues this series on keeping young children safer, with 3 skills to teach them. They are never responsible for keeping themselves safe from abuse, but no matter what you do, risk still exists. These skills can help.
Click here to view video.
Kathryn McPhillips, Executive Director and Clinical Pysychologist, talks about how to keep our children safer when blending familes. She talks to the reasons why children can be at risk in blended families and what you can do to prevent sexual abuse in this situation. Click here to view the video.
Any talk of sexual abuse can be distressing, so if you need support, phone us on 0800 6231700, 24/7.
Kathryn McPhillips, Executive Director and Clinical Psychologist, talks about how to keep our children safer by building their resilience, giving them the skills from as young as 3 years to keep safer, and how to create a safer home environment.
Click here to view video.
Do you shop online? Help us raise funds for free!
We’re on Rewardhub, a website where 100’s of leading brands Reward us with free donations, at no extra cost to you, when you shop online and are signed up to support us
It’s an easy place to shop with discounts on big brands in fashion, beauty, entertainment, travel, utilities, money, homeware, food, drink and more.
To learn more and sign up to our page, please visit https://rewardhub.co.nz/help-auckland
Understanding grooming is critical to stopping sexual abuse before it starts. Kathryn outlines how it happens, what you might see, and how you can disrupt it. Any talk of sexual abuse can be distressing, so if you need support, phone us on 0800 6231700 24/7
Click here to watch the video
Ruth Davy-Fundraising Manager, HELP Auckland