Identifying why people assault is key to safer cities - Wellington charity

10:08 am on 22 October 2020

A rape survivor advocate says no particular scene or culture has issues with assault, it is a countrywide problem.

Kyla Rayner

Wellington Rape Crisis general manager Kyla Rayner. Photo: supplied

New data shows assaults are 10 times more likely to occur in central Wellington than the rest of New Zealand.

Over lockdown, the number of assaults dropped around Cuba St and Courtney Place but they are back on the rise.

Wellington Rape Crisis general manager Kyla Rayner said there were a number of factors that led to central Wellington facing this particular problem.

"We've got a high concentration of tertiary institutions that means a large number of people coming here to study and obviously also looking to go out find entertainment in this small city.

"A number of people move here for work and maybe they're not as socially connected as they might be in other communities.

"Sometimes there is a feeling that it's such a small and vibrant and connected city and we must be safe here but clearly, that's not the case, we're seeing that reflected in the stats."

She told Morning Report there was a major issue with people feeling confident to report these kinds of assault. "We estimate maybe 80 percent of the harm is not being reported."

However, there were more avenues for survivors to seek help, which resulted in an increase in assault reports, she said.

More needed to be done than just asking people to look out for themselves.

"Ultimately we want to have a focus on the people who are doing this kind of harm, where are they coming from, how are they having these ingrained attitudes and behaviours, how do we ensure they stop their behaviour, because ultimately that's what's going to stop the problem and create safety in our cities."

It comes as police earlier this week launched an investigation into a group of local musicians accused online of rape, sexual assault and violence.

One woman who spoke out about their behaviour online said in a follow-up post she had received more than 100 responses from women, men, and minors detailing similar attacks.

A Wellington nightclub worker said he reported one of the accused to the police three months ago. Another man in the capital believes he stopped a woman being sexually assaulted by two of the people accused.

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