COSA Casualties of Sexual Allegations Newsletter November 1996: Volume 3 No 10
Contents of this page:
Editorial: Implications of the new Domestic Violence Act This month a North Shore Family Court granted protection orders to the police on behalf of a 20 year old woman, but without her knowledge. This allowed the police to go to her home and force her partner to leave, without notice and against her wishes, because they feared that she was not safe living with him. Maria Bradshaw, spokesperson for the National Collective of Women’s Refuges, warned that such an action means that others claim to know better than women about how to run their own lives.
DSAC votes to expel honorary members without reason or right of review Expelling or suspending members without any reason given; denying them an opportunity to be heard and removing their rights for review and appeal are not regulations becoming of a professional body. These actions of censorship, secrecy and suppression are counter to the principles of transparency and open exchange of information which should be guiding standards for organisations such as DSAC, a society dedicated to education, empowerment and healing.
Courts: Falsely accused student awarded compensation Nick Wills, the 22 year old Hamilton law student falsely accused of rape by a fellow student, has been awarded $30,000 compensation for wrongful arrest and for being sacked from his job.
Falsely accused father awarded $320,000 in compensation Bob Yates has been engaged in a 7 year battle to secure the children’s DCW files and to try and get custody to prevent the children suffering the ongoing trauma of further allegations and intrusive and distressing physical examinations. He has been fighting to clear his name and have contact with his children for over 10 years.(Australia).
Therapist ordered to pay $1.2 Million Therapist Virginia Humphrey had 200 therapy sessions with a young girl after her parents divorced. After 3 sessions, Humphrey claimed that the girl (then aged 5) had been sexually abused by her lawyer father. The allegations became more and more bizarre as the therapy sessions progressed. (USA).
Media: CYPS claims to be under-funded and under-staffed – a call for more state intervention into family life. The Children & Young Persons’ Service claims that child abuse has doubled in the past 6 years and that statistics for physical and sexual abuse continue to rise. They complain that they are only funded to see 50% of 3 year olds. It could be asked, do they really believe that over half our young children should be brought to their attention for assessment of possible abuse and neglect?
Anita Hill is guest speaker at Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association. She claimed that 60% of American women experience sexual harassment at work.
Features: ACC Changes ACC is requesting information similar to that required in other (non-sexual abuse) ACC claims. The New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) are reported to be appalled and angry by these new requirements, saying that this is a collusion against their clients and that revealing such details would "further traumatise victims".
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) a survey conducted on the work of the first 1,200 clinicians trained in EMDR with over 10,000 clients "indicated that 85% of the clinicians had more "repressed" memories emerge with EMDR than with any other method".
International Congress on Stress and Health Sydney, Australia. This conference included a section on recovered memories.
Implications of the new Domestic Violence Act
On 1 July this year, a new Domestic Violence Act came into force, bringing a raft of changes which extend the definition of violence and increase the powers of the state to intervene in private lives. One of the most concerning aspects of these is that concerned relatives, friends, police or other professionals, can apply for a protection order on behalf of children or adults for whose safety they are fearful. In the case of adults (usually women), this means that others can decide that someone is not capable of making decisions about her own life and take control out of her hands – a very frightening prospect.
This was demonstrated this month when a North Shore Family Court granted protection orders to the police on behalf of a 20 year old woman, but without her knowledge. This allowed the police to go to her home and force her partner to leave, without notice and against her wishes, because they feared that she was not safe living with him. Her partner had in fact been violent to her in the past, but she had returned to him and she claimed that they had sorted things out and that he had not hit her again since her return. Her parents did not want her to live with him, and they had supported the police’s action because they said they feared for her safety.
This is a disturbing extension of the prevailing belief which claims that all women are potential victims, not able to be in control of their own lives and needing to be protected – exactly the attitude of Victorian society and re-imposed on us by the feminist ideologues of the 1990s. Janet Lake, the manager of the Auckland Domestic Violence Centre, applauded the police’s action but Maria Bradshaw, the spokesperson for the National Collective of Women’s Refuges, appreciated that such an action means that others claim to know better than women about how to run their own lives.
Of further worry is the Act’s widening of the definition of violence to include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, or any threats of these. A child is supposedly psychologically abused if an abuser allows the child to see or hear, or risk seeing or hearing, the abuse of a person with whom that child has a domestic relationship. This means that parents who yell at each other at night with their children asleep in their own bedrooms might be deemed guilty of abusing their children. If a mother claims her ex-husband has shouted at her and verbally abused her, he can lose all custody rights to their children and be denied any unsupervised access. The broad scope of the definition of "violence" has terrifying consequences for this Act to be used as a weapon during divorce and custody procedures.
DSAC votes to expel honorary members without reason or right of review
I recently attended the DSAC (Doctors for Sexual Abuse care Inc) AGM to object to proposed amendments to their rules. The change was in regard to the rescission or suspension of Associate and Honorary members of the Society. Under the existing rules, ordinary and honorary members can be suspended or expelled if "in the opinion of the Executive Committee" they have been "guilty of conduct contrary to the interests of the Society or to have ceased to take an interest in the objects of the Society or to have been disobedient to its rules or guilty of an unprofessional act or public misdemeanour". Such members are to be given at least 7 days written notice of the alleged infringement or conduct and also "an adequate opportunity of being heard by the Executive Committee".
The new rule proposes that Associate or Honorary membership can be rescinded or suspended by a 75% majority of the Executive Committee with "no reason needed to be given for such rescission or suspension" and no "rights of review or appeal" by the affected member. A further rule stated that all membership applications should be subject to the approval of no less than 75% of the Executive Committee. This would effectively make it extremely unlikely that anyone who has their honorary membership removed be accepted as a ordinary (paying) member.
I supported the existing rule and objected to the proposed change for the following reasons:
- Adequate provision already exists for suspension or expulsion of any member who breaks DSAC’s rules or is guilty of professional or public misdemeanour.
- Should the Executive Committee believe that a member has transgressed in some way, it is in everyone’s best interest that that transgression is expressed openly.
- It is normal for professional bodies to accord its members the right to be heard: to state their case and correct possible sources of misinformation.
- Democratic institutions usually offer their members the opportunity for decisions involving them to be reviewed or appealed.
Expelling or suspending members without any reason given; denying them an opportunity to be heard and removing their rights for review and appeal are not regulations becoming of a professional body. These actions of censorship, secrecy and suppression are counter to the principles of transparency and open exchange of information which should be guiding standards for organisations such as DSAC, a society dedicated to education, empowerment and healing.
Furthermore, the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 Section 6 (k) (2) states: "the rules of the society may contain any other provisions which are not inconsistent with this Act or with law". The proposed amendment appears to contravene the rule of natural justice and fairness and legal advice is that it is likely to be ruled illegal by the courts.
None of the attending DSAC members agreed with me, however, as mine was the only objection and all other votes were in favour of these changes.
It appears that DSAC wants to keep its inclusion criteria secret. When it first started in 1988 (and designated me an honorary founding member) DSAC promoted itself as "a society for all doctors" and claimed that it welcomed all doctors "with skills in and/or enthusiasm for the field of sexual abuse care". It seems to have now become a much more exclusive club.
Falsely accused student awarded compensation
Nick Wills, the 22 year old Hamilton law student falsely accused of rape by a fellow student, has been awarded $30,000 compensation for wrongful arrest and for being sacked from his job. The award is from the police and from his employer, the Bryant Hall Trust Board. The money has gone on paying off his $27,000 legal bill accrued to prove his innocence.
Nick says that he is still suffering from deep personal scars from spending 3 months under suspicion of being a rapist, and that despite all the evidence and the public knowledge of the case he knows that "there are people who still think there’s something in it". He feels the need to have an alibi at all times and is uneasy around women he does not know.
Although the Police Complaints Authority admitted they had made mistakes in the investigation of the rape complaint against Nick, they decided not to take any disciplinary action against Detective Chris Scahill, the officer in charge of the investigation. This is despite the fact that the police had failed to check Nick’s alibi at the time of the alleged offence, police medical evidence was inconsistent and there were huge flaws in the woman’s story.
(NZ Herald, 17 Oct 1996: Taranaki Daily News, 17 & 18 Oct 1996)
Police officer falsely accused of rape
The Police Complaints Authority cleared a police officer of an accusation of rape made by another police officer after an incident at a Dunedin police station social function. Both officers have remained working although have been transferred to different stations.
(Star-Times 20 Oct 1996)
Man found not guilty of indecently assaulting his cousin
A New Plymouth District Court jury this month found a 27 year old man not guilty of indecently assaulting his female cousin (aged between 12 and 16 years). The girl claimed that he had touched her breasts on one occasion in early 1995 and on a second occasion in 1996.
(Taranaki Daily News, 3 Oct 1996)
Falsely accused father awarded $320,000 in compensation
In 1985 an Australian teacher Mr Bob Yates, who had been separated from his wife for a year, was charged with sexually abusing his daughter, then aged 3. A magistrate dismissed the charges 3 months later. However, an anonymous officer from the Women’s Information Switchboard contacted the Department of Community Welfare (DCW) who organised for the child to be examined by a doctor and a psychiatrist, who claimed she had been abused.
In 1986 and 1987 the allegations were raised in a custody battle in the Family Court for the daughter and her brother who was 2 years younger. The judge found the sexual allegation unproven and was critical of the methods used by the doctor and psychiatrist. He awarded Mr Yates $20,000 in costs and access to his children.
Further allegations of sexual abuse of both children were then made by his estranged wife. These were subsequently dismissed by an examining doctor, but she took the children to another psychologist who supported her stand. The father became engaged in a 7 year battle to secure the children’s DCW files and to try and get custody to prevent the children suffering the ongoing trauma of further allegations and intrusive and distressing physical examinations. During this time Mr Yates lost access to his son and has never regained it, although he has managed to maintain ongoing access to his daughter. His health and career suffered and he has been receiving workers’ compensation. He has been fighting to clear his name and have contact with his children for over 10 years.
This October the South Australian State Government awarded him $320,000 to end the dispute and to help him "start a new life".
(The Advertiser, Adelaide, 16 Oct 1996)
The continuing saga of Hilary Morgan
In 1985 a Washington DC plastic surgeon, Elizabeth Morgan, accused her ex-husband dental surgeon Eric Foretich of sexually molesting their daughter Hilary Foretich, then aged 2. Police investigated but did not lay charges; likewise court after court rejected the accusations and ordered that Foretich be allowed to see his daughter. In 1987 when Morgan sent Hilary into hiding (to Christchurch, NZ) rather than comply, a District of Columbia judge held her in contempt of court and put her in jail.
She remained in jail for 25 months until Congress passed a measure freeing her, despite her continuing defiance of the court order about her daughter. She moved to NZ and has been living here with her daughter (now known as Ellen Morgan) ever since. Foretich came to NZ seeking access to Hilary but apparently she believed that her father had molested her when she was a toddler, and did not want to see him. He gave up his fight for custody and the NZ court placed the child under its guardianship, with her able to reside with her mother but prohibiting both Hilary and her mother from any media contact.
Elizabeth Morgan does not want to live in NZ however. She has not been able to get medical registration as a doctor here, has suffered ill-health and wishes to return with her daughter (now aged 13) to live with her second husband, Paul Michel, a US Court of Appeals judge. If she returns to the US she would be obliged to obey the 1987 DC Superior Court judgement that Foretich have access rights to Hilary, which she is not prepared to do. However special legislation was introduced to the US Congress to quash the DC Courts’ jurisdiction over visitation rights to Hilary. This was passed by Congress this month – legislation which effectively decides that Morgan does not have to abide by the law which is for everyone, but has had a special law passed for her alone. Despite her falsely accusing her ex-husband and violating a court order whilst he has been consistently law-abiding, she wins and he loses.
The next step is for the NZ Family Court to give up guardianship rights to Hilary and allow her to return to the United States under the care of her mother.
(Chicago Tribune, 6 Oct 1996)
Therapist ordered to pay $1.2 Million
Menlo Park therapist Virginia Humphrey had 200 therapy sessions with a young girl (now aged 11) after her parents divorced. After 3 sessions, Humphrey claimed that the girl (then aged 5) had been sexually abused by her lawyer father. The allegations became more and more bizarre as the therapy sessions progressed.
Police investigations found the allegations unsubstantiated, and a Superior Court judge concluded that the therapy with Humphrey had had a harmful effect on the child. A Family Court judge later awarded custody to the father.
Last month a San Diego jury awarded $1.2 million damages to the father and $675,000 to his daughter. The jury said that Humphrey had showed serious incompetence in her handling of the case and still did not recognise her errors, and they recommended that state officials should investigate as to whether she should keep her professional licence.
(Anne Krueger, Union-Tribune Publishing Co, 29 Aug 1996)
CYPS claims to be under-funded and under-staffed – a call for more state intervention into family life
"Young blood: the service minding our children faces a torrent of abuse", Stacy Gregg, Sunday-Star Time, 13 Oct 1996
The Children & Young Persons’ Service (CYPS) claims that child abuse has doubled in the past 6 years and that statistics for physical and sexual abuse continue to rise. They complain that they are only funded to see 50% of 3 year olds. It could be asked, do they really believe that over half our young children should be brought to their attention for assessment of possible abuse and neglect?
Some children remain in CYPS care for years, although Mr Mike Doolan, the service’s chief social worker, does state that "it is our intention to re-establish them in a secure family situation". Maureen Southwick, an Auckland solicitor who is part of the Children’s Agenda team, worries that too often, the service’s statutory line of keeping the child with the family is not in the child’s best interests. She says that "There is some naivetÃ© in the thought that keeping the child with the family must be best."
In fact, in the last year, CYPS took over 500 Place of Safety warrants (an emergency power to get the child out of the home before the situation is even presented in the courts) and 1600 Temporary Care Agreements where children are handed over immediately by parents to Social Welfare care.
Anita Hill is guest speaker at Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association
"Harassment of women still taints workplace", Donna Chisholm, Sunday Star-Times, 20 Oct 1996.
Anita Hill, the law professor who publicly accused US Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, addressed the Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association symposium this month. She claimed that 60% of American women experience sexual harassment at work.
Satanic Ritual Abuse Conference held at University
Last month about 200 social workers, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, counsellors, psychologists, police, lawyers and clergy attended a conference called Better the Devil You Know, about dealing with satanic ritual abuse. Organised by the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS) at Warwick University, many of those who attended the meeting are reported to believe that cannibalistic devil worshippers exist across Britain and that 1000s of children and adults have been subjected to their ritualistic abuse. The public and the press were excluded.
What is frightening is that many of those attending this conference have the legal power to deprive parents of their children and place them in care.
(UK Mail on Sunday, 15 Sep 1996)
Insurance against sex with aliens
For US $155 a year, British adults can insure themselves against abduction by space aliens (pays $160,000) and against being impregnated by them (pays about $320,000). The broker concerned admits that he would not personally buy a policy of this nature, because he does not think that the "risk is commensurate with the premium", but says that "if there is the fear of these things out there, we are justified in offering to cover people against them".
6 year old kiss deemed sexual harassment
(NZ Herald, 4 Oct 1996; Star-Times, 6 Oct 1996)
This month a 6 year old North Carolina boy was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the cheek, and a 7 year old New York boy suffered a similar fate when he kissed a girl and pulled a button off her skirt. He said he did it "because I like her" and because his favourite storybook is about a bear with a missing button.
Despite the fact that from all reports, both these boys acted in innocent friendship, the schools concerned defined their actions as "sexual harassment".
Until recently, ACC has not required detailed personal information from sexual abuse complainants, because these were deemed to be "sensitive claims". ACC is apparently now requesting information similar to that required in other (non-sexual abuse) ACC claims. This information is not shared with other government bodies and is used to assess the complainants’ claims. The information requested involves details such as education and employment status, past mental and physical health and a history of abuse against others.
The New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) are reported to be appalled and angry by these new requirements, saying that this is a collusion against their clients and that revealing such details would "further traumatise victims". A number of ACC-registered counsellors are refusing to fill out the new forms in protest (Taranaki News, 10 Oct 1996).
ACC are also advising counsellors that they should no longer claim that they have been "ACC Accredited". Counsellors who are registered as approved counsellors with ACC can receive payment from ACC when they see clients for counselling for an ACC claim (ie usually when clients claim they are victims of sexual abuse). ACC registered counsellors may use the words "ACC referrals accepted" on their letterheads and business cads, but not "ACC Accredited" as the latter implies ACC’s official endorsement of their treatment. This is because it could leave ACC open to a legal action from a complainant who is dissatisfied with the treatment received (ACC News, issue 16, Aug 1996).
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)
This technique is currently in vogue for treating victims of accidents and other trauma who are plagued by intrusive memories of the event to the extent that it interferes with their daily lives. For example, someone who has survived a motor vehicle accident in which others were badly injured and/or killed may continually relive the scene in his or her mind with the associated feeling of terror, and may become panicky even at the thought of getting back into a car.
The treatment involves the client tracking the therapist’s hand with his or her eyes as it moves from side to side, and at the same time describing the traumatic memory, recounting the frightening thoughts and experiencing the associated body sensations.
This is claimed to be a brief form of treatment (sometimes only requiring one or 2 sessions) which somehow defuses the impact of the memory and rapidly desensitises clients, so that they are no longer haunted by flashbacks or intrusive memories and are not overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and panic when reminded of the incident. They are able to put it behind them, saying "that was a very dangerous situation, but I survived and now its over".
EMDR was discovered as a chance observation in May 1987 by American clinical psychologist Francine Shapiro. Whilst walking in a park, she realised that if she moved her eyes "very rapidly back and forth in an upward diagonal" some disturbing thoughts she had in her mind disappeared, "and when she brought them back to mind, their negative charge was greatly reduced".
Excited about this discovery, she tried it out on friends and colleagues and after about 6 months, had developed a standard procedure to reduce anxiety associated with "disturbing memories, beliefs and present situations". Shapiro emphasises the importance of clinicians sticking closely to the standard protocols she has developed. She insists that nobody should use EMDR unless they have been trained either by herself or one of her approved trainers. In her book published in 1995, she claims that approximately 10,000 clinicians had been trained in its use.
EMDR is a clinical development for which researchers have since been trying (so far unsuccessfully) to find a theoretical explanation. It has been suggested that getting the patient to focus on a rapidly changing, predictable novel stimulus (the moving hand) and requiring a motor response (side to side tracking movements of the eyes) acts as a distraction, an outside focus which inhibits focus on inside stimuli and hence inhibits fear.
Several studies, some of which have been controlled and randomised, have now been conducted, and appear to show that EMDR can be a very rapid and effective form of treatment for specific problems such as phobias and panic attacks which develop after a documented trauma.
EMDR bears considerable resemblance to hypnotic induction. Tracking a movement with the eyes from side to side is very reminiscent of the 19th century hypnotists’ use of the swinging pendulum. It is well documented that hypnosis can lead to the generation of false memories which subjects become certain are true and accurate, , . Shapiro claims that "EMDR is clinically very dissimilar to hypnosis, and recent EEG studies indicate that the brain waves produced during EMDR treatment and those produced during hypnosis are quite different from each other" and quotes research that is said to demonstrate this. It is my hypothesis however that in fact EMDR is an example of a classic hypnotic induction. If this proves true, then the accepted cautionary safe-guards concerning the use of hypnosis will have to be applied to the use of EMDR.
EMDR has certainly become a very popular form of psychological treatment in the USA and Australia, and is soon to hit NZ. Professor Bessel van der Kolk was one of the first to adopt it; he apparently uses it regularly; promoted it extensively to the 240 mental health professionals he addressed in Auckland last month, and suggested a training workshop to be run here in 1997.
My concerns are not with the technique per se, which I accept may be an effective and safe form of treatment for people suffering intrusive memories and anxiety after some episode of severe trauma or near-death experience. However, there are potential dangers when, rather than being used to treat troublesome intrusive memories of trauma, the technique is used to retrieve them.
Following her initial development of EMDR for anxiety and phobia treatment, Shapiro subsequently explored its use for accessing and resolving "decades-old traumatic memories" and claims it can be very helpful in alleviating the emotional pain in these patients. She clearly supports the hypothesis that a history of childhood sexual abuse can be diagnosed on the basis of adult symptoms in the absence of any memories of early molestation. She states that visual memories may not always surface and that "clinical observation indicates that even with otherwise full-blown sexual abuse symptomatology only half of EMDR clients experience the emergence of a visual memory of such abuse".
A case was reported last year of 4 NSW prison inmates who won a retrial because of doubts about the alleged repressed memories of a prison guard who underwent psychotherapy after a jail breakout in July 1991. Initially a guard who was injured during the attempted escape had claimed that "I cannot remember which prisoner did what… I can just remember that between 8 and 9 prisoners came into the office". A year later the guard underwent EMDR, following which he made a second statement specifically identifying his assailants. The judge described EMDR as a "novel and unexplained procedure" very akin to hypnosis, with a similar effect of making a witness more certain of a false memory.
Similarly, an Auckland man was charged with sexual offences against his step-daughter after she attended a therapist in Australia. Counselling notes revealed that the abuse memories were recovered with the use of EMDR. All the charges against the man were later dismissed by the courts.
Recently I learnt of a case where a man believes he must have been sexually abused as a child although he has no memory of this happening, and has now embarked on a course of EMDR to uncover his trauma memories (personal communication).
EMDR is likely to become much in vogue in the next few years. I have concerns that it may be used inappropriately – to uncover memories where there is no documented history of trauma. Shapiro refers to a survey conducted on the work of the first 1,200 clinicians trained in EMDR with over 10,000 clients. The results of this survey "indicated that 85% of the clinicians had more "repressed" memories emerge with EMDR than with any other method". Given that the theory of "repression" has yet to be scientifically substantiated, any technique which claims to be responsible for surfacing "repressed" memories needs to be approached with extreme caution. Please contact COSA if you hear of instances where it appears to be used inappropriately – to uncover memories where there is no documented history of trauma.
Newsletters received by COSA
Canadian FMS Support Groups Newsletter 5 (9) October 1996
Includes a discussion on some of the elaborate theories being generated to explain recovered memories (eg "body memories") and how these theories do not tie up with what is scientifically known about the neurobiology of memory.
FMS Foundation Newsletter October1996 5 (9)
Excellent coverage of American academic and legal developments in the area of recovered memories. Includes a number of legal decisions awarding damages from psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors for harm sustained to clients and their families from using techniques and therapeutic practices leading to false sexual accusations.
COSA offers a service to members of sending copies of FMSF newsletter at a cost of $30 per year (including postage).
DSAC National Newsletter 30 Sep 1996
Includes an enthusiastic review of last month’s seminar with Bessel van der Kolk, written by AIT psychotherapy tutor and NZ Multiple Personality Disorder expert Ondra Williams. Ondra was thankful that van der Kolk kept a discussion of accusations of false memory peripheral to the issues of how to diagnose and treat sexual abuse survivors who "have often been left feeling ‘dead to the world’." She also said that van der Kolk had "noted how today we see the wish to cover up the atrocities recently reported in Bosnia and recognised the historical equivalent of groups with energies and agendas similar to that of the False Memory Foundation". [Whilst I can recall van der Kolk implying that the FMSF might throw a bomb at him (see COSA Newsletter 3 (9) Oct 1996) I cannot personally remember him making the statement Ondra attributes to him! -Ed].
International Congress on Stress and Health
5 – 8 Oct 1996, Sydney, Australia
This conference included a section on recovered memories.
Prof Kevin McConkey gave an excellent paper on "Does the reporting of recovered memories help?" concluding that there is no evidence that recovering memories (irrespective of whether they are true or false) is of therapeutic value, and outlining some of the risks of recovered memory therapy. He said that the range of indicators said to be indicative of sexual abuse are too wide to be of any value clinically, and that placing clients under pressure to remember because abuse is suspected may have significant negative consequences. He emphasised that psychotherapy should deal with current and future problems and should look "towards deeds of the future not misdeeds of the past".
Richard Bryant described a study looking at the effect of hypnosis on the generation of false memories. It is clearly unethical to contribute to pseudomemories of trauma, but he used the memory of the 2nd birthday (studies have indicated that adults do not remember events at this age) and in general, birthdays are likely to be neutral or positive experiences. He found that people who are highly hypnotisable are most likely to create false memories, and that this might have relevance in the therapy situation. Clients who are suggestible and who perceive a therapist’s expectations of an abuse history might be subject to the generation of false memories.
We are pleased to report that the NZ Lottery Grants Board has kindly awarded us a further $8,000 towards the production and distribution of our newsletter. This has increased from the $5,000 we received last year and we thank them for the ongoing support of our organisation.
We have also been gifted $1000 from the GAMA Foundation to go towards extending the distribution of our newsletters. We propose to use this grant to target Criminal and Family lawyers with complimentary copies, asking if they wish to subscribe to further issues.
Paper work for Auckland and Canterbury branches is now with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies and we expect their approval very shortly.