Abused males want royal commission

A Dunedin man is one of more than 100 male sexual abuse survivors calling on the Government to open a royal commission into the historical sexual abuse of children.

The South-South Institute's the third conference, organised by the Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust Aotearoa, is running in Christchurch this week.

Dunedin man and sexual abuse survivor Darryl Smith is one of about 100 sexual abuse survivors attending the conference who support a royal commission into historic sexual abuse.

Mr Smith spent more than a decade in state care, in both New Zealand and Australia, beginning when he was 7 in the early 1970s.

It is likely a call for the Government to open a royal commission into historical sexual abuse cases, both in state care and other institutions, will be made during the conference.

Mr Smith said he and fellow survivors had already made their views clear at a survivor-only day on Sunday.

``As survivors we were asked what we wanted as an outcome and we were all on the same page that we wanted a royal commission, so people can be made accountable.''

The Labour Party has pledged to set up an inquiry into abuse of children in state care within its first 100 days in government.

Mr Smith said he was happy the Government had promised to launch an inquiry but survivors wanted something that was comprehensive.

Other aspects of the conference, such as the guest speakers and work shops, were also incredibly important for the survivors, he said.

``We come here and we are no longer alone, other people have been through the same thing.''

It was good to talk with other survivors who all had very similar experiences, whether it was with a church, school or state care, Mr Smith said.

Speakers at the conference included former Ngai Tahu chief executive Sir Mark Solomon and retired FBI public profiler and writer and producer on the television show Criminal Minds Jim Clemente.

Government agencies such as the New Zealand Police, the Ministry of Justice and ACC had all sent representatives to the conference.

``I've spoken to them all and we're all on the same page about what needs to be done,'' Mr Smith said.

Supporter of men who have experienced sexual abuse, Liz Tonks, said her and others were at the conference to support the survivors and back the call for a royal commission.

Mrs Tonks said Labour's pledge was welcome but it needed extend to all victims of sexual abuse.

``We must challenge the silence and this is the message from the researchers, service providers and more importantly, the survivors are telling us today,'' she said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

 

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