HELP for preschools

Supporting families and early education centres to keep children safe is vital to reduce prevalence of sexual abuse in our society – for today’s children and for future generations too. 

HELP runs age-appropriate, accessible prevention services such as We Can Keep Safe for preschools, families and children.  We also provide free, helpful resources to help parents, caregivers and teachers provide a safe environment  understand what is normal sexual behaviour in children.

HELP for children & families

Rates of sexual abuse in New Zealand are still very high. Research found that more than 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 9 boys had been sexually abused before they turned 15 years old. Most of this abuse (90%) will be done by someone they know. 

If your child has been sexually abused, the most important thing to do first is to make sure that your child knows that you love them, and that you will get them safe. And then keep them safe. It can also help to have someone understanding and supportive to talk to if you and your child are feeling distressed. You can call us on our 24/7 HELPLINE anytime 0800 623 1700

As a parent, finding out that your child has been sexually abused can be a real shock.You might feel overwhelmed, distressed, confused, shame, anger and/or guilty that this has happened to your child. All of these responses are normal. We can assist you through these feelings, and help you work out how best to support your child and your family.

Your child may also experience a mix of emotions and symptoms, including feeling scared, sad, numb, guilty, angry or aggressive, withdrawing from family or friends, self-blame, lack of concentration, eating difficulties, nightmares, bed wetting, flashbacks or risk-taking behaviours. 

Some children may need pyschotherapy to work through the impacts of the abuse. Our child and family therapy services can help to minimise the effects of trauma on a child’s development by providing a chance to talk or play their way through their worries. You might also find our parent & caregivers resources helpful too.  

HELP for young people, friends & families

Are you a teenager who has experienced sexual abuse? You’re not alone – one in 4 young women experience sexual abuse, and many young men and non-binary people do too. We know it’s not easy to talk about it, but we’re here for you, and you can contact us right now on 0800 623 1700.

It can be hard to know if what has happened to you is a crime, especially if someone told you that it was okay, or that you “wanted it”. They may have pressured you into doing something you didn’t really want to, or told you that it’s your fault.

To make things harder, there are also lots of myths about sexual abuse that can make it confusing about what’s okay and what’s not. Learn about some of the thoughts and feelings you’re struggling with, some of the common effects of sexual abuse, and how  therapy can help. 

Many young women find our Dear Em website helpful – Em shares real talk from real girls to get through the good times and the bad, together.  If you’re a young male, you might want to contact Male Survivors Aotearoa, a nationwide service that supports Kiwi males who have experienced sexual abuse.

“I just didn’t think they would believe me. I thought they knew and didn’t care. Believing me showed me they cared for me. It was important to feel believed straight away… a relief!”

One of the most important things for young people who have been abused, is support from their friends.  It can be difficult to know how to be supportive if your friend doesn’t seem quite like the person they were.  If this guide doesn’t give you enough information, please call us to get more ideas 0800 623 1700.

HELP for adults & their families

If you’re an adult who has been sexually assaulted or you know someone who has been sexually abused, you’re in the right place. 

If you’ve recently been sexually assaulted, the first thing to focus on is your own safety, both physically and emotionally. Get away from the person who hurt you to a safe place and tell someone if you haven’t already – you can call our 24/7 HELPline anytime on 0800 623 1700. You don’t have to cope on your own – our therapy services can help you heal from the trauma of your experience, and you can read our helpful resources here

If you’re a friend, partner or family member of a sexual abuse survivor, your support can be a crucial part of the healing process. Let them know that you care, that you don’t blame them, and that you believe in them. It’s fine to not have all the answers straight away – we can help you learn how best to support your loved one.

Remember, there are no quick or easy fixes for healing from sexual violence, so it’s important to be patient. These useful resources for family and partners can help you learn how best to support the survivor in your life and how to look after yourself too. 

If you’re having thoughts about harming others, see SAFE2TALK for phone, text or web talk. 

HELP for professionals

We support and consult to healthcare professionals and other organisations that may be working with clients who have experienced sexual abuse. For example, HELP runs training sessions for professionals and other organisations on how to support survivors. We can also provide immediate consultation or refer you to an appropriate supervisor if the need is on-going.

To learn more about what young people need to address sexual violence, see Breaking the Silence, a collaborative project between HELP and Tu Wahine Trust. Or see our other resources for professionals here

HELP for the Pasifika community

The way that sexual abuse is experienced, and the tools that survivors need to heal can be different for different cultures. HELP has a team from different islands of the Pacific who bring their culture with them to inform the ways that we respond to our Pasifika clients and their aiga/ kāinga. 

Learn more about how our free and confidential services can help you or someone in your aiga to heal from recent or past sexual abuse.

HELP for Kaupapa Māori

We respect the role that culture plays in the nature of our wounds and the ways we need to heal. That’s why we work in partnership with Auckland’s Tu Wahine Trust and Korowai Tumanako who provide Kaupapa Māori counselling, therapy and support for those impacted by sexual violence (mahi tukino). 

Stories from Survivors

“Remember, you are not what happened to you, you are more than a survivor, things will get better.”

Read Laura’s* story

“Not talking about it was just protecting him, it wasn’t helping me.”

Read Becca’s* story

“It will always be a part of me but I’m stronger now and I want to give back and encourage others facing similar situations.”

Read Sophie Ann’s* story

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