LOGIC March 2018 Vol 17 Vol 1 - Page 49

Dealing with non- consensual disclosures. Michelle Ihaka Co-ordinator Wairarapa Rape and Sexual Abuse Collective Inc. Rape and sexual abuse can be an uncomfortable topic for many people including professionals who don’t work within the specialist field. Therefore it is important to educate yourself on some basics that can have a huge positive impact on a survivor’s recovery/healing process. Unfortunately rape and sexual abuse is very common in New Zealand. It is still not spoken about enough and there are many perceived myths that go along side rape and sexual abuse. If you have a discloser of rape and or sexual abuse, it is important that the client feels believed and heard while disclosing their story to you. You have been told because they feel safe with you, trust you and are ready to begin their healing process. March 2018 L.O.G.I.C You are possibly the first person they have ever told. What may seem right for some is not right with others. It is very common that disclosures are not made until many years later. This is normal. It is important the survivor has control on their story and they are not pressured into making a decision. This has to be the best outcome for them, not yourself. It is important that you react appropriately in this situation as your reactions could have a negative impact on a survivor. Let them tell their story, do not dig for information or details, if they want you to know this information they will tell you. There are many options to be aware of while respecting that it is important the survivor has control on who they tell their story to and who they want involved. Keeping that in mind, it is also important that they are given options on what supports are available for them and that they are aware, they have a choice of what type of support they would like. Options include, Specialised Support agency’s- These are organisations who specialise in working with survivors of sexual abuse. They offer free and confidential information, ongoing support and assist with all options listed below. ACC Counselling – A survivor is entitled to this at any stage of their life, there does not have to be a complaint to the police or a conviction to receive counselling. Anyone can make a referral to ACC. DSAC (Doctors for sexual abuse care) - can do a wellness check, heath, sti etc. with the information being kept 47