Catalyst: Family and Sexual Violence – Yes, It Does Happen Here Too

Event Details

Catalyst Trust and Jigsaw Central Lakes present a panel discussion (with Q&A) of experts in town for a National Family and Sexual Violence Conference to bring light to this largely hidden and ignored topic. Perhaps even more hidden in a resort town where glitz is prevalent and family connections less common. This is an opportunity to both raise consciousness of the issues involved and make headway towards possible community responses. Speakers include Louise Nicholas, Ken Clearwater, Nicola Atwool and Rachel Smith.

Please register for this event by emailing

Speaker bios:

Louise Nicholas – Louise works for Rape Prevention Education as a Advocate. This is a nationwide role which provide’s support for survivors and their families and communities. She represents survivor perspectives in service development and the sexual violence and abuse sector. Louise is on the Tauiwi Caucus of the Executive Committee of TOAH-Nnest (Te Ohaakii a Hine – National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together)  She was voted NZ Herald’s New Zealander of the year 2007 and was also placed in the top 10 as one of ‘New Zealand’s Living Treasures”. She also co-wrote the bestselling book Louise Nicholas  – My Story with Phil Kitchin (the Dominion Post reporter who broke Louise’s story).

Ken Clearwater – Targeted, groomed and sexually abused by a neighborhood pedophile when he was 12 years old.  He was filled with rage, and he rebelled against and fought anyone with authority. By the age of 14 he had been expelled from school for assaulting a teacher. By the age of 16 he was apprenticed to a butcher. But he could not tolerate supervision, and so moved from job to job.  In 1991 he found himself in a homicidal rage over a dispute over a pool game, and he realized he needed help. So began Ken’s odyssey of searching for help from the mental health establishment. In his first attempt he was told that his problems with rage had nothing to do with the sexual abuse he suffered. In his second attempt he was told there was nothing to be done for him. Finally, Ken saw an ad in a local newspaper about a support group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. On his third try he was able to walk through the door and join the other men, but having crossed that threshold, he never looked back. Decades later now, Ken Clearwater serves as Manager of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust in Christchurch, and he is a national spokesperson for male survivors in New Zealand.

Nicola Atwool – She has qualifications in  social work and child psychotherapy and held a variety of roles within  Child Youth & Family over a 20 year period. Nicola joined the University of Otago in 1994 when she was appointed to a lecturer position in Family and Community Studies. In 2006 she was the Principle Advisor in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner where she advocated heavily for the well-being of children & young people. In 2012 Nicola returned to Otago University as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work. Nicola has a particular interest in attachment theory and resilience.

Rachel Smith – Rachel is a specialist for the Family Violence Death Review Committee. She leads the review of family violence deaths and uses the insights and information gathered through this process to support and improve systemic response to family violence. Rachel’s prior work in the family violence sector has been across local government, health and the voluntary sector in the UK and New Zealand. She has a Masters of Science and Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in women’s studies and sociology from University of Auckland.