For the first time in New Zealand, a national structure has been set up specifically to support male survivors of sexual abuse.
Members from regional support groups around the country gathered at a hui in Nelson and made a commitment to the body, which would be known as the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust Aotearoa New Zealand (MSSAT).
Philip Chapman was appointed the chairperson of the organisation and is also the manager of The Male Room, a support and advocacy network for men in Nelson. He said the event marked a big moment for men throughout New Zealand.
“We will be looking at how we fit our services around the men instead of how they fit into what we are offering,” he said.
Last year, the Government announced services for victims of sexual violence would get $10 million in funding over the next two years.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said at the time the sector required extra resources and the money would be used to support frontline crisis-response and community-based treatment services, as well as male victims and people accessing medical and forensic services.
Chapman said it was the first time funding had been provided specifically for male survivors and the formation of a governing body would enable them to better distribute the funds. Up until now, regional support groups existed independently and relied on the goodwill of volunteers, he said.