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Sexual violence study prompts call for consent education for men, boys

A sexual violence expert is calling for better education around sexual consent and relationships for men and boys due to prevailing offending.

Auckland University associate professor Janet Fanslow Source: rnz.co.nz

New research shows the rate of New Zealand women facing sexual violence from a partner - one in six - has been mostly steady for the past 80 years.

The research, published in the journal 'Social Science & Medicine', also found a rate of one in five children experiencing sexual abuse, and one in 14 people experiencing non-partner sexual assault.

The study's lead researcher, Auckland University associate professor Janet Fanslow, said the offending was mostly due to a failure to involve men in preventative measures such as better education for men around sexual consent and healthy relationships.

"We need to really think about how we work to engage men and boys in issues around gender equality," Fanslow said.

"It's a really big problem that has a really big fallout, and if we're not happy about that we actually need to do something to change it."

While there were examples of countries overseas taking preventative measures in education and other areas, New Zealand had lagged behind in taking a largely punitive approach to sexual offending, Fanslow said.

The research relied on a 2003 survey of 2855 women in Auckland and the Waikato, and a 2019 study involving 1464 women in Auckland, Northland and the Waikato.

The women were asked questions about their experiences of sexual abuse.

Where to get help

NZ Police

Victim Support 0800 842 846

Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape Prevention Education

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 - 0

Safe to talk: a 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors, support people and those with harmful sexual behaviour: 0800044334.

Mosaic - Tiaki Tangata Peer support for males who have experienced trauma and sexual abuse: 0800 94 22 94

rnz.co.nz