TODAY |

'So many stories' - Survivors say abuse in rainbow community widespread, demand grows for support services

Serious issues of abuse in New Zealand's rainbow community have been brought to light by the trial of a wealthy businessman found guilty of indecently assaulting younger men.

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The man, who still has name suppression, has been found guilty of indecently assaulting younger men. Source: 1 NEWS

A jury this week found the businessman guilty of indecent assault against three men in the early 2000s, 2008, and 2016, as well as attempting to dissuade one of the complainants from giving evidence.

He has always maintained his innocence and continues to have name suppression. The businessman's lawyer is also reported to have been instructed by his client to appeal.

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"I think what is particular about that story is you've got men talking about sexual abuse - that doesn't happen as much," said researcher Sandra Dickson.

Dickson has surveyed abuse in the rainbow community, publishing one of New Zealand's first reports on these issues in 2016.

"The reality is that some of the sexual violence people in our survey talked about one in five had experienced sexualised stuff that they didn't want from someone in a position of authority over them," she said. 

"I'm very pleased that has gone to court because people in the rainbow community don't normally report that." 

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The prominent businessman, who still has name suppression, was also found guilty of trying to dissuade a witness from giving evidence. Source: 1 NEWS

A recent Ministry of Justice report found that while on average, 29 per cent of New Zealanders experience intimate partner violence or sexual violence, that number almost doubles for lesbian and gay adults, and is higher again for bisexual adults, who are also far less likely to report that abuse to the police.

"I've heard of so many other stories of particularly young people who've been groomed in the same sort of way by older gay men - it's definitely an issue and it's an issue that nobody has brought to light," said one man, who spoke to 1NEWS on condition of anonymity.

He said he was preyed upon by an older man in Christchurch who he had initially looked up to as a role model.

"I didn't even see the full extent of what was happening ... he was somebody that held a position of power over me," he said.

"We need to start having these discussions... recognising there are people in the community who are doing these sorts of things.

"I don't think enough is being done because people are scared."

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The High Court has ruled media can’t identified the accused man. Source: 1 NEWS

MOSAIC helps male survivors of sexual violence, and its rainbow Liaison, Lucas Jones, said demand for their service is steadily increasing.

"Our demand has increased by 281 per cent in the last two years ... that's people wanting to access our services," said Jones.

Jones said they were having to put people seeking help on a month-long waitlist, which had been growing.

He said there needed to be far more public resources allocated to services such as MOSAIC.

"I think a lot more needs to be done in terms of resources such as funding."

Dickson said while some agencies in the space, such as MOSAIC, worked well with the rainbow community, others sometimes struggled.

"We're not seeing any national requirement that every single agency in the country works well with people in the rainbow community - and there should be a requirement."

WHERE TO GET HELP: 

OUTLine - Visit the website or call 0800 688 5463 

Youthline - Visit the website or call 0800 376 633 

Rainbow Youth
- Visit the website or call (09) 376 4155 for Auckland or 022 027 6166 for Northland