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Sexual violence service development update: "sexual violence" to "sexual harm"

July 06, 2017 at 3:35 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The Ministry of Social Development's (MSD) latest update on sexual violence service development includes information about service funding, models, guidelines and tenders.

The update also advises they have started to move from the language of "sexual violence" to "sexual harm."

The update states:

"We have started to make a conscious shift to refer to sexual harm rather than sexual violence. The term ‘harm' incorporates acts of violence, but also acknowledges many experiences of sexual harm that may not be perceived as violent.

Sexual harm is a descriptor for a number of sexual behaviours that are engaged in without consent and involve elements of force, coercion and/or power by one person over another for the purpose of sexual gratification and control. This can include both contact and non-contact behaviour, including ‘online' computer-assisted sexual harm."

New Zealand Police started referring to "family harm" rather than "family violence" in 2016.

The MSD update provides further detail on:

  • The distribution of the $46 million over four years announced in Budget 2016 for the development of sexual violence services
  • The new funding allocation model that is being used for crisis support services
  • New service guidelines for sexual harm crisis support services
  • Advance Notices that have been posted on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) for: sexual harm crisis support services in areas where there is currently limited or no service provision; and a Kaupapa Māori Harmful Sexual Behaviour Service Pilot for non-mandated adults
  • The development of a website for the new national helpline
  • A summary of high level themes and feedback from MSD's first service development workshop on services for male survivors of sexual abuse.

You can subscribe to receive the MSD updates, or send MSD questions, feedback or comments by emailing:

All past updates can be viewed on the MSD website.

Category: Policy and Legislation