Good question!!! One of the best things you can do for your friend is to find out some information... so you're in the right place. What is it you want to know? Do you have some questions, squiz through the following list to see if these questions are helpful. If there is a question you have that is not listed, look through the website to see if the information is here, otherwise, use the email for a personal response.

Question Topics

back to topCheck out Safety

back to topSupport for you and your friend

back to topQuestions about the Offender

back to topInformation you may find useful

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Check out Safety

Do you think your friend is safe from this person and safe from this happening again?

To work this out, it helps to know when/where the abuse happens. Does it happen while your friend is at home? Are there other people around at the time or is it only when they're alone? Does it happen at night when they're in bed? If you think your friend is still at risk of this happening again keep reading for some ideas on what to do...

Yes my friend is safe

Give your friend support, ask your friend how you can help them, maybe you can stay with them if that's what they want, maybe you could set up and appointment with a counsellor if they need to talk, if you are free you could go with them so they feel o.k.

No my friend is not safe!

Then it gets a little more tricky. The main aim is toget your friend to a safe place away from this happening again. Is there a trusted adult you could tell? A teacher, school counsellor, aunty, uncle, mum, dad, older brother or sister or one of the agencies listed. Keep telling until someone listens to you and does something to help. It can sometimes take a few tellings before adults listen properly... keep trying. If this is happening on a regular basis think about calling Child, Youth and Family if your friend is 16 or under, or calling the police. Look under these sections so you know what might happen. It's really important that your friend is away from where the offender knows she will be. Maybe she/he could go stay with extended family, a friend's family, or other. If you talk to one of the agencies/counsellors listed they may be able to help you find a solution that fits with your problem. If possible keep away from the offender until a permaent solution is found. It's really important for your friend to get help because sexual abuse can totally mess you up, now and in your future too.

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Does your friend have an adult they trust enough to talk to?

Maybe there is a close family member or teacher or anyone who's an adult that you could possibly talk to. There will be someone! Even if it's someone you don't know yet. Trusted adults can provide transport, words of wisdom, safety, a place to stay and lots of support. The more people to help and support you the better.

Check out the suggestions page for ways in how to respond, pass this on to the people you tell so they also know what is o.k and not o.k. Not all adults will know what to do, but they may have more ideas to offer.

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Support for you and your friend

How do you respond? Some tips.

Support page

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Are you o.k? Finding it hard to deal with?

This may be hard for you to deal with too. If you're a boyfriend or girlfriend you may not know how to be around them. There are some hints on the support page for you. If you're a supporter you can talk to someone too, if you're having a hard time. Many of the places listed under services provide information and help for supporters too! You don't have to mention your friends' names of anything, just tlak over what it is you're having difficulty with. You may even want to get another friend or adult involved so that you don't feel like you're the only one trying to help. Ask your friend who it is o.k or not o.k to talk to.

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Does your friend seem to be acting differently than before?

Effects page

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What does your friend want to do? Do they know?

Remember you're doing this to help your friend, so ask them what they want. If they say they don't want you to do anything but you find it hard to do that, read through this site to see if anything in here will be useful. Pass on things that you learn to your friend, it may help them make decisions about what to do. Also know that ringing agencies without telling them who you are can make things easier, find out what you want to know, then you can decide yourselves what to do.

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What are your options? Who can you talk to about them? Where do you find these people?

  • You may want to suss out your school counsellor, see if they can help. Do you know your school counsellors? One way to feel safer about talking to them is to ask them questions about confidentiality and privacy. If you told them private information what would they do with it? Some schools may disclose to parents or other teachers if tehy think a young person is at risk. So it's important to find out what your school does.

  • You can ring an agency listed to see what they say, perhaps go in to talk with them about the situation. Take your friend if they are willing. Check out their policy in terms of confidentiality, will they tell parents / police / CYF? Many agencies won't because they respect your privacy, but check it out anyway. A phone call can make this easier, talk to them over the phone about your options.

  • You could ring the police, click here to find out how and what happens.

  • You could if your friend is 16 or under call Child Youth and Family, click here to find out how and what may happen

  • Have a meeting with a counsellor. They may talk about how it is your friend is dealing with the effects of this experience, if they have support and offer help to work on dealing with feelings, thoughts, emotions, behaviour that may feel totally out of control.

  • On the agencies page you will find a list of places to call that may be able to help you. Each one has a small paragraph saying what they do, and how to get in contact wtih them. Check it out to see if it fits.

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Questions about the offender

Does your friend know the offender? (person who may have sexually abused your friend)

First thing is to find out if your friend is safe from this happening again, check out (question 9) to work this out.
Secondly, knowing the offender can make it difficult for your friend to tell others. She may want to just forget about what happened for fear that if she/he tells the offender may go to jail. She/he may also want to blame themselves for what happened. It's important to never blame themselves for what happened. It's important to never blame someone who is sexually abused, it is never their fault.

Your friend may become very weary of all people around her/him. They may be scared to go out alone, even to the dairy. It's important that you let her/him take their time, and support tem as much as you can over this hard time.

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Is the offender someone you know?

If you do it may cause a bit of conflict, maybe you're wondering who's right and who's wrong... in some cases both may think they're right? You know how two people can see the same thing but may describe it differently, well it's sorta like that. The main thing to know is that if someone does not get consent, permission, a "yes, I want to have sex with you", from the other person, then it may be an unwanted sexual experience and may have huge effects for that person, and their relationships with others. If you do know the offender and as a result you're finding it hard to support the survivor, it might be best to let someone else do the supporting. Maybe another friend or adult...

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Does the offender say nothing happened?

This may happen, sometimes say in dating situations the offender may not want to say they forced their date to have sex, because they know this is against the law and they may go to jail.
Sometimes also they may not know that they did anything wrong. This doesn't mean that an unwanted sexual experience didn't happen and it doesn't excuse their behaviour. Maybe communication got mixed up, maybe they went too far. Do they know how to find out if their partner wants to have sex with them? It's more than just a look, or what someone wears, you have to talk about it. If you don't you may potentially hurt someone. It's important to suss out with a partner what it is you both wnat sexually, talking to each other about what you do and don't like can make sex heaps more enjoyable. FPA have an excellent book on relationships called The word and Your choice, check out their website for more info.

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Who offends?

General Information Page

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Information you may need

What is rape / sexual abuse / sexual assault / unwanted sexual experience?

General Information Page

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Who does this happen to?

General Information Page

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Does your friend have to tell what happened to anyone else?

Your friend does not need to tell anyone they don't want to. Lots of young people have said that they find talking helpful, so if your friend can find someone they trust and can talk to, they may find it really helpful.

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Do you or/and your friend know about confidentiality (no one else gets to know what's been said) and privacy?

If an agency says that it will keep your information confidential, this means that no one else will be able to know what you said. Sometimes people get put off if they think that other people will know what they've said, a way to find out if your information will stay confidential is to call agencies anonymously (don't tell them your name or phone number) to check out whether you think they can help you or not. This includes the Police, CYF, in most agencies what gets said between you and the counsellor stays between you. There are times when confidentiality may not apply. These are when someone's safety is at risk. Most times if counsellors want to break confidence to keep someone safe they will let you know, but do ask and make sure this is so before you start talking to them.

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What about STI's, pregnancy and general physical health?

It's important that your friend makes sure they are physiclly o.k after the abuse. There are places you can go that are confidential and are supportive. There are doctors who specialise in working with people who have been sexally abused, they are called DSAC (Doctor's for sexual abuse care), there is also Family Planning, the Auckland Sexual Health Clinic and for areas outside Auckland check out your local phone book or ring your local sexual assault agency.

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What about different cultural beliefs?

There are some cultures that hold different ideas about what sexual abuse is.
In New Zealand the law protects anyone who has experienced sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is having sex without consent (agree). The reason for not giving consent may be because the abused person did not want to, or was unable to at the time due to being drunk, drugged or extreme fear. Sexual abuse is against the law and you can be prosecuted for this behaviour.

If you would like more information about the law and how it protects you check out the Youthlaw website or give them a call on ph (09) 309 6967, they will be able to answer any legal questions more fully.

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Are you thinking about calling the police? What will the Police do?

Make sure you let your friend know, so they are prepared and you can discuss things together, again you can talk this over with ASAH, they have people that can support you at the police station.

If your friend decides they want to tell what happened to the police, the police will first off, ask you a few questions about the incident and then discuss your options with you.

  • You are able to call the police anonymously and discuss the situation with them. Click here for their numbers
  • If your friend is currently unsafe they may act sooner than if the abuse is historical (happened a long time ago).
  • After you make a complaint to them, they will want to do an interview. This can take place at school/home or at the police station.
  • You can have a support person with you (this can be a family member, school counsellor, or counsellor trained in working with the police from ASAHelp or Counselling Services Centre. You may need to call these counsellors to request their support).
  • A statement is an account or a story about what happened. It goes into minute detail.
  • You also need to know that the police and CYF work closely together. If the police receive a disclosure (telling what happened) from a young person under 17 they work with CYF in order to ensure safety for the young person. Likewise if CYF are contacted first with a disclosure of sexual abuse/assauly they will contact the police. Families are also told. Remember that you can ring first without giving your name to find out what they will do.

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What about court?

Not all cases go to court, this is up to the police to decide. After you make a complaint to the police, it is no longer up to you to decide if it goes to court. The police make the decision based on whether they think they can get enough evidence to convict (put away) the offender. You become a witness in their case. Youthlaw is an excellent place to let you know your rights and they have booklets available for free that walk you through the court process. Ring them and ask, or check out their website

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What is counselling/therapy? What happens?

Counselling an therapy pretty much mean the same thing. This means that you can talk with someone about the problems you are facing. They listen and help you to find ways to deal with these problems so that you have control over them and not them over you.
It is really important that you feel comfortable with a counsellor. So don't feel like you have to stay with one if you don't like them. Also don't think that all counsellors suck if you come across a couple of bad ones. It's important to keep looking. Counsellors are all different and teh way that they work differs as well, like some may use drawing and music more than talking. If your friends have been to counsellors ask them about their experience.

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Who pays for counselling or going to an agency?

Most agencies will not charge young people if they come without their families' knowledge. It's important though to check this out with whoever you see.
There is also ACC (accident compensation corporation) Funding. ACC pay some money toward conselling. Your counsellor will set this up, you don't have to.

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Will your friend feel like crap forever?

General Information Page

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A possible action plan

Here is a possible action plan that you might follow.

  • Look through this website gathering information, anything that helps you feel more comfortable talking to your friend about what happened. Print out/write down or memorise the tips from the Support List.
  • Who do you know that can help you come up with a plan of what to do? Sit down and work out who you want to talk to, what questions you want to ask and how you can relay all this to your friend.
  • Suss out your school counsellor, pass by them a possible scenario (not naming names if you're unsure) and ask them for their advice.
  • Ring one of the agencies listed and repeat the above. What are their suggestions?
  • Perhaps you have an aunty or older sister that will help, if so maybe ask them for their support to help your friend.
  • Print out or have your friend look at the General Information Page on this website. Show them a list of possible effects, this may help them feel less crazy, a little more normal if they know that other people feel the same way.
  • If you think that your friend may want to go to the police, print out the question that tells you what happens, give it to your friend to look through. If they do wnat to talk to the police, make sure they go with a support person.
  • You can also ring Youthlaw to get police and court information.
  • Perhaps set up an appointment for you and friend with school counsellor / agency counsellor to talk about what happened.

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