Growing attraction? Or growing aggression?

He mahi whakaipoipo? He mahi whakawetiweti rānei?
19 October 2020
5 minute read

Sexual violence in Aotearoa is a significant problem. We fund programmes to prevent it, but we're also here to support you.


Trigger warning: This article discusses sexual violence and other related topics. If you're in danger or need immediate help, call 111. If you need to talk to someone, contact Safe to talk – Kōrero mai ka ora or visit the website.

Phone 0800 044 334
Safe to talk

If you're in danger or need immediate help, call 111.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, contact Safe to talk – Kōrero mai ka ora or visit the website.

Phone 0800 044 334

Safe to talk – Kōrero mai ka ora website

If you've experienced sexual abuse or assault, you can use our online search tool to find organisations that have therapists who can support you.

Find Support

Our general wellbeing relies on healthy relationships, which include:

  • respect
  • equality
  • trust
  • communication
  • consent.

Unhealthy relationships tend to miss one or all, of these. When consent is missing, it's called sexual abuse or assault. Sexual abuse can include any unwanted or forced sexualised behaviours. 

This happens in New Zealand more often than you might think. One in three women and one in six men are likely to experience sexual violence in their lifetime, often before they're 16 years old. Transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse people experience even higher rates of sexual violence.

It needs to stop.

Part of the solution is intervening at an early stage to prevent violence from happening in the first place. By doing this, we have a greater chance of helping to build a stronger future for our young people, their friends and their whānau.

In the 2019/2020 financial year, we helped 32,042 young people learn about healthy relationships through our Mates & Dates educational programme. Eight out of 10 students who completed the course claimed to have a better understanding of consent thanks to what they learned.

As well as helping to educate Aotearoa about healthy relationships, we also help when someone has experienced sexual violence. This includes free support, treatment, and assessment services for mental injury caused by sexual abuse or assault. New claims have almost doubled over the last five years, increasing from 6,192 in 2015/16 financial year to 10,389 in 2019/20.

We're working hard to tackle the issue of sexual violence in Aotearoa. It will take all of us to work together for a long-term solution. We're working with nine other government agencies to lead, integrate, and provide support for everyone to ensure an effective whole-of-government response to family and sexual violence.

Find statistics on sensitive claims under our media resources:

Sensitive claim statistics

So far in 2020

159
schools participated in our Mates & Dates healthy relationships programme.

The programme reached

32,042
secondary school students between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020

There were

10,389
new claims for mental injury caused by sexual abuse or assault in the 2019/20 financial year.

Mates & Dates – Teaching young people about healthy relationships

Sexual violence in New Zealand is a significant problem, and we need to start talking about it with our young people. Working with them is one of the most effective ways of preventing sexual and dating violence.

We developed the Mates & Dates programme for secondary schools to offer one approach to the issue. By teaching young people about healthy relationships early, it can have a lasting lifetime effect on them and their families and whānau.

You can find out more about the Mates & Dates programme on our newsroom and the website.

Mates & Dates: "It's something we need to talk about"

Mates & Dates website

Thinking about your teenage years, how would you rate what you learned in school about healthy relationships?

Agree with your thinking

Finding support after sexual abuse or violence

Trigger warning: This section discusses sexual abuse and violence and other related topics.

New claims relating to sexual abuse and assault have increased by an average of 19% each year since 2014. This was when we changed the way we support people who have experienced sexual abuse or violence, removing and reducing many of the barriers to accessing support.

Since then, you're able to access initial support before you need an assessment for further ACC cover.

Media coverage, the #metoo movement, societal trends, and awareness-raising prevention campaigns are also changing attitudes towards sexual violence. This is resulting in more people seeking help.

For women

1 in 3
experience sexual violence over their lifetime.

For men

1 in 6
experience sexual violence over their lifetime.

We supported

34,361
people who experienced sexual violence between 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

How we help those who need us

Asking for support after being sexually assaulted or abused can be difficult. It doesn't matter if the event happened recently or a long time ago, you can access support whenever you're ready. You don't need to have told the police.

We work with experienced therapists who can give you the right support, depending on your individual needs. They're qualified with a range of skills and can offer different types of support and treatment.

This therapy is free. The therapist will make an ACC claim, allowing you to immediately access up to:

  • 14 hours of one-on-one therapy
  • 10 hours of social work
  • 20 hours of family/whānau support.

If you need extra or longer-term support, your therapist will arrange an assessment for further cover and supports. These may include social rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, or longer-term therapeutic support.

Find more information and search for a therapist on the Find Support website:

Find Support

Other initiatives we support

We're involved in supporting a range of initiatives in the sexual violence and healthy relationships space.

Primary prevention involves working with the community to target the underlying causes of sexual violence and prevent it before it happens. We have a tool kit for community-based organisations with tools and templates to help them understand what works and how to check the impact they're having.

ACC – Sexual Violence Prevention Tool Kit

We've partnered with Pasifika organisation, Le Va, to help reduce family violence, sexual violence and suicidal behaviour among Pasifika young people.

Supporting Pasifika young people in New Zealand

The purpose of the Aotearoa Humanity Project is to grow humanity through the sharing of stories of New Zealanders, in response to monthly questions. Each person's story offers an opportunity to understand and grow individual and collective humanity.

Aotearoa Humanity Project

We support HELP Auckland’s personal safety education programme in preschools, We Can Keep Safe.

The interactive, age-appropriate programme provides children with tools to keep themselves safe in many situations. It also teaches parents and caregivers how to provide safe environments. 

We Can Keep Safe

Power to Protect educates parents or caregivers on how to cope with stress and persistent crying of their baby. The programme also provides guidelines for health professionals on paediatric abusive head trauma.

Kids Health – never ever shake a baby 

More information about how we can help if you're injured

Find out how we can help if you're injured because of an accident:

What to do if you're injured

Types of injuries we cover

Different ways we can support you

Getting help with a claim

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