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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Sexual harm

Kino ā-aitanga

For advice and support, contact Safe to talk. This is a free national 24-hour, 7-day a week confidential service for anyone looking for help to do with sexual harm. You can get help by phone 0800-044-334, text 4334 or via the website.

Sexual harm is when someone:

If you have been sexually harmed, it is important to know there are people who want to help you and you do not have to go through this alone.

If you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical help, call 111.

If you do not need urgent help, go somewhere you feel safe, such as the home of a close friend or whānau (family) member. If you feel able to, tell someone you trust what has happened.

You can also call the police on (03) 363-7400. It is OK to contact them just to ask for advice and to find out what your options are. You do not have to do this straight away and talking to the police does not mean you have to make a formal complaint. The police can also help you and put you in touch with people who can help.

You can find out more about how the police can help. The link has written information and videos about topics like support services, medical check-ups and what happens when you go to a police station.

Getting medical help for sexual harm

Whether or not you choose to go to police or tell anyone else, it is best to see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have been sexually harmed.

If you live in Canterbury or on the West Coast, you can see the doctors and nurses at the Cambridge Clinic. This is a free specialist medical service for anybody aged 13 years and older who has been sexually assaulted or abused. You can contact them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Cambridge Clinic can provide both medical and forensic (collecting evidence) assessments. If you are unsure about police involvement, they will discuss your options so you can make the right choice for you. You can see them whether the sexual harm is recent or any time in the past.

You can also go to your own healthcare provider or the hospital. Talking to a health care professional is confidential.


As well as Safe to talk, there are local agencies that can help.

Aviva's Sexual Violence Team

Aviva's Sexual Violence Team provides 24-hour support and advice for rape and sexual assault. You can phone them on (03) 377‑5402.

Male Survivors Canterbury (The Canterbury Men's Centre)

Male Survivors Canterbury provides one-to-one support, peer support, group peer support and support for parents and partners of survivors. You can phone them on (03) 365-9000.


START provides specialist counselling for tamariki (children), rangatahi (young people) and adults who have been subject to sexual harm. It also provides support for their whānau and education about sexual violence to the wider community. You can phone them on (03) 355-4414.

Te Puna Oranga

Te Puna Oranga is a Kaupapa Māori service that offers a 24-hour, 7-day a week crisis service for sexual harm. They work with individuals and whānau, offering counselling and other support. You can phone them on 0800-222-042.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2023.


See also:

Referral and support agencies – assault

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Review key: HISAA-14477