Should COSA psych out abuse survivors?

You might think clinical evidence is the reason why ACC are changing their framework for providing therapy for people who have survived sexual violence. 

Are psychologists and psychiatrists – who will now be monitoring treatment provided by counsellors and psychotherapists – better placed to deliver services?

About 90% of sexual abuse counselling in the last 20 years has been done by ACC registered counsellors and psychotherapists in New Zealand, according to an open letter to ACC Minister Nick Smith released today by the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists.  (Hat tip to Lew at KiwiPolitico for posting this).

Current practise for ACC counselling is that the counsellor/psychotherapist who assesses the sexual abuse provides the counselling, if approved by ACC.  This stops people who have been raped having to tell their stories over and over again, to different people.

But ACC research from 2005 found that psychologists saw ACC sensitive claimants an average of three less sessions each (9 cf with 12) than counsellors, thereby saving us, the taxpayer money.  So maybe they are better at it?

Sadly, there were limitations with this research, some of which were openly acknowledged.  We have no idea how well any of the claimants were after the counselling.  We also don’t know what kind of sexual abuse people had suffered – one-off events or years of repeated abuse have quite different needs for support and counselling. 

There’s also the fact that author Felicity Goodyear-Smith is the founder of  COSA, Casualties of Sexual Abuse, an organisation that wants to see fewer convictions for sexual violence crimes because it argues many of those convicted are innocent. 

She’s also the author of First Do No Harm, in which she argues adult-child sex can be harmless.

Ms Goodyear-Smith is married to John Potter, previously imprisoned for indecently assaulting two under-age girls, and the son of Centrepoint founder Bert Potter, also imprisoned for a variety of charges related to the Centrepoint community, including child sexual abuse.

 John Potter runs New Zealand men’s rights website MENZ, where men can access letters to send to Family Court to avoid protection orders, information on how to avoid child abuse allegations, and info kits on how men accused of child abuse can respond and where they can get support.  Felicity Goodyear Smith is an active and regular contributor.

Why ACC is funding someone with the views of Felicity Goodyear Smith to examine treatment paths for survivors of sexual abuse is a question worth asking.

Particularly when sexual abuse claims are gendered – because sexual violence remains a crime primarily perpetrated by men on women and girls.  Just in the last year:

ACC Gender of claimants

 The changes to the ACC framework for processing abuse claims beginnning next month will restrict access to counselling for all those who have survived sexual violence, and heighten the trauma of seeking help by expecting survivors to tell and re-tell their experiences of abuse to complete strangers.

And most of these survivors will be women.

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36 thoughts on “Should COSA psych out abuse survivors?

  1. Wow I had no idea Felicity Goodyear-Smith was involved in all this stuff. It’s really scary.

    Great post. My mind is blown. And this whole thing is really, really worrying.

  2. C’mon Luddite. You have gone overboard on this. And you lie.

    Felicity doesn’t post on menz. I have done so for 3 years now and not even a comment on menz from Felicity.

    As for John Potter, well, he did the time for his crime. As someone who works with women I have seen and known many bad deeds. I don’t say, “You did bad so you are bad all your life” but instead I try to work with them so that they can change.

    Left wing people seem so hypocritical to me sometimes. If you ever want to run me down just ask me and I will give you my story. That’s what made me care for others and you will find so many people (just like me) caring in society so others don’t go through the things we did.

    • Hi Julie,
      Felicity Goodyear-Smith’s articles, books and organisations she supports are all over Menz, as you well know if you are a regular contributor there. She is glowingly written up by her husband – as you’d expect – what exactly is the bit I’ve gone overboard on, or the bit I lie about?
      I’m not saying anyone who committs any crime is “bad all your life”. But convictions for sexual abuse when you host a website which shows men who are accused of abuse how they can defend allegations positions you in a particular way, I think. And I don’t think I’ll be alone in that – hence my publicising the links the way I have in this post.
      I’m not interested in running you down – as I’m sure is abundantly clear by the fact I continue to respectfully discuss things with you we vehemently disagree on. Not calling you a liar is one example.

  3. Hi again Luddite,

    I do agree calling you a liar is disrespectful. I am sorry for using that word. But when you wrote “Felicity Goodyear Smith is an active and regular contributor.” (of menz)I had to say something because this is incorrect information.

    You say in your comment, “Felicity Goodyear-Smith’s articles, books and organisations she supports are all over Menz, as you well know if you are a regular contributor there. She is glowingly written up by her husband – as you’d expect”

    To me that is different than Felicity being a contributor. It isn’t her site and although John may think along the same lines as her, I am sure you will find other contributors have their own views.

    …..

    IMO, if John had things his way, MENZ would be a site full of information for men on all sorts of topics. But as society is continuously making things hard for men and men are expected to defend themselves against laws that feminists deliberately want … ‘Guilty until proven innocent’, he has to provide what men need and that is a way to prove their innocence.

    ……. Also …

    I really hope you stand with me against child sexual abuse when the show, ‘Vagina Monologues’ comes to NZ because lesbians raping young girls is also not appropriate. I don’t know where all these people including the gays of the 70’s who wanted to have sex with young boys are coming from. Maybe society was different at one stage for all this to be important.

    • Hi Julie,
      apology accepted 🙂 And we’ll continue to disagree on whether or not men as a group are victimised by a system in which sexual violence continues to have such low prosecution rates I guess.
      Vagina Monologues about lesbians raping young girls? Can you explain this? I thought it was about how vaginas are talked about in the world.
      I’m sure you know too, that men who sexually abuse young boys are overwhelmingly heterosexual. Which emphatically does not make it ok when queer men do it, of course.

  4. Hi Luddite,

    I see 3 points I can comment back to from you comment above. I’ll do one at a time.

    ………..

    Feminist criticism of The Vagina Monologues

    The Vagina Monologues has been criticized by a number of people in the pro-sex feminist, gender egalitarian, and individualist feminist movements. Harriet Lerner, renowned in the field of Women’s Psychology, points out the “psychic genital mutilation” embedded in the play’s title, which ignores the Clitoris and Labia, and should more accurately be called “The Vulva Monologues”. Pro-sex feminist Betty Dodson, author of several books about female sexuality, saw the play as having a negative and restrictive view of sexuality and an anti-male bias. She called the play “a blast of hatred at men and heterosexuality”. Individualist feminist Wendy McElroy agreed, stating that the play “equates men with “the enemy” and heterosexual love with violence”.

    Elements of the play critics find contentious include:

    * the amount of attention given to brutal sexual encounters compared with consensual or harmonious sexual encounters;
    * negative portrayal of male-female sexual relationships;
    * In “The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could”, an underage girl (thirteen in earlier performances, sixteen in the revised version) recounts being given alcohol and then having sex with an adult woman; the incident is recalled fondly by the grown girl.
    * the fact that Ensler interviewed girls as young as aged six, asking them intimate questions, such as what their vagina smells like.

    http://tinyurl.com/m3ts8

    …….

    Of course rape is overwhelmingly heterosexual. There are more heterosexuals than gays.

    …….

    I leave the victimisation of men regarding rape policy for the next comment. 😉

      • Hi Boganette,
        couldn’t have said it better myself.
        Julie, let’s examine the Vagina Monologues another time. This series of posts are about, as Boganette says, ACC cuts to sexual violence counselling and what might be driving them.

  5. Very interesting post, thank you.

    That is need-to-know information for the public, for ACC staff, and for anyone impacted by the proposed (rather horrendous) changes (sexual abuse victims).

  6. False allegations of sexual abuse are prevalent. Surely no-one supports the convictions of innocents for crimes that never occurred? Felicity Goodyear-Smith is not denying that sexual abuse does occur, and does not condone it.
    Felicity and John have a daughter, and it must not be pleasant for the family to have John’s actions from 30 years ago (for which he did his time) dragged into the media to attack Felicity’s credibility.

    • Hi Starfish,
      I suggest you take a look at the latest Ministry of Women’s Affairs research, which proves (again, this has been proven frequently internationally) that “false allegations of sexual abuse” are not in fact prevalent. This is a myth which protects those who abuse, unfortunately.
      I agree John’s actions in the past were not “pleasant”. Particularly, I imagine, for the children from Centrepoint.

  7. Hi Luddite
    As ever, I’m befaffled by side arguments as much as the next person. It’s to be expected, I suppose that Dr Felicity Goodyear Smith supports her partner as she does. She obviously has a close supportive relationship with him, and perhaps a greater awareness of the effects of accusations of sexual abuse perpetration than other people usually do. And, of course, she’s a practitioner in her field – bounded by rules of conduct and no doubt supervised by her peers.
    It’s pertinent that she was the Centrepoint doctor for many years. In her professional capacity, I assume that she treated and counselled many individuals in relation to their health. Including their sexual health (sexual expression and “if it feels good it must be good” philosophies in a community of that size surely require some medical follow-up!).
    Dr Goodyear-Smith has publicly stated (sorry I can’t recall the publication, may have been a recent wekend paper article) that she was never a member of Centrepoint Community, and in fact lived separately, with her husband John, from the community in a housetruck just across the paddock. Membership policies aside, I know that she, like John, was active in community life. Maybe she did not engage in the expression and indulgences as her husband did, and as the other adults did, whether they were “members” or not but people who lived there say otherwise. I can’t confirm whether she was officially engaged as the CP doctor but she certainly is referred to as such by former residents. Legally of age, but patients of hers?
    Anyway – it worries me that some counsellors are reportedly up in arms over the changes to ACC funding. It’s true that never-ending counselling is not the best treatment for injuries caused by childhood sexual abuse. Counsellors with such previously guaranteed incomes from acc obviously disagree, despite the apparent lack of rehabilitative success in their longterm clients – ffs teach them to THRIVE not survive. Mental Health awareness: it’s a big thing in this country – the destigmatisation of accessing mental health services, how having a mental illness sometime in your life is not so unusual and certainly not a barrier to employment or other social benefits. I applaud any move to fix it so people are delivered better treatment.
    As a burgeoning thriver I can tell you there’s a flip side to everything. Victim is flip-side of hero. Panic attacks are flip-side to exceptional observation and appraisal skills. Luckily, one of the “pathologies” I have struggled with is the rejection of any solid identity which included the narrative of victim I was presented with in the nineties by acc registered counsellors. Unluckily, there was no alternative – i could not find a rehabilitative path that did not pin my whole identity to sexual abuse.
    Specific difficulties that I have, if they can be identified, are not who I am. I am not a survivor (the abuse was never going to kill me, but the effects of it nearly took me out a few times – life’s tough, but assuming the colour of any environment you’re in has its dangers as well as its comforts).
    I guess we’ll just have to suck it and see. If the research shows that limited, targeted and individually assessed (based on specific diagnoses) counselling/rehab plans is more effective for people struggling with the effects of childhood sexual abuse then let’s give it a decent go. Measure it again – ask people that have had psych assessments (it was actually bloody helpful) and please—less of the “trauma of mental illness diagnoses” – the Mental Health Foundation, and many many other individuals have worked so very hard for the past fifteen years to reduce the very discriminatory stance that acc funded counsellors have publicly taken over the intended cuts to their income and, I suspect, the realisation that they have been complicit in creating unrehabilitated, dependent “survivors”.
    Touchy subject, I know (*ducks for cover*).

  8. On the Fringe…I wonder why the Mental Health Foundation has openly supported the campaign against the introduction of the new clinical pathways if what you claim is true. I also wonder where all these therapy addicted clients are and where on earth you dredge your ‘facts’ from? I would be interested to see a link to your statistics regarding this issue .

  9. Hi Scarpetta
    Thanks for your comments. I think that the MHF supports the new clinical pathways because the MHF supports better access to mental health treatment and management.
    Claiming that a diagnosis of mental injury will result in discrimination and harm works against the understanding and efforts of the MHF to encourage acceptance of, and reduce fears of discrimination for, those experiencing mental illness.
    “Therapy addicted clients” seems to be a really negative inference and not one I’d ever comfortably use. I know that there are people that feel they have been well-served by the old system. Some of these people are therapists and some of these people are clients.
    I don’t know much at all about relationship dependancy from a clinical perspective, nor am I an expert on what makes some people, as a consequence of abuse, reject longterm therapeutic relationships or feel dangerously compromised by building a future self around past sexual abuse.
    Do you know if the Massey guidelines for treament document identifies the range of responses to different therapies and treatments by type of case?

    As I haven’t cited any statistics, I can’t provide a link to them. I don’t have a dredge either, just considering (clumsily) other perspectives and holding a belief that “facts” are often just lists of things that have been noticed so far.
    So, I see that my statement: “It’s true that never-ending counselling is not the best treatment for injuries caused by childhood sexual abuse” is inflammatory as it is not a “fact”. I’d like to retrospectively insert the words “probably” before the word “true” and “always” before the words “the best treatment”.
    Also inflammatory, though probably a fact, is my unnatural suspicion of any group that argues loudest against changes when it is the group most likely to be financially affected those changes, more so when they do it on behalf of a silent majority. But it certainly doesn’t follow as fact that a (well considered or not) fear of losing guaranteed longterm income motivates some counsellors to see more negative outcomes than positive ones for their clients. So, I’m sorry that these biases came across as assertions of fact.

    It seems to me that mental injury and the consequent risk of developing mental illness has always been an aspect of acc funded counselling for sexual abuse – it won’t come as any suprise to learn that “research shows” mental functioning is specifically affected by trauma. What I’m hoping is that the changes will target strategies for making life easier for each and anyone living with the effects of childhood sexual abuse. I’m hoping that those people that have not been helped by past ACC funded interventions will now be helped with targeted, well considered services that actually work. It’s previously been limited to those who can have, or who have come to believe that they must have, an ongoing relationship with a counsellor and a social and personal identity based built around past sexual abuse.
    It seems to me that it’s more helpful to consider the effects of childhood sexual abuse(or any kind of trauma) in the context of current mental functioning and strategies for coping than it is to consider, re-live, re-tell or focus on the details of the trauma itself. Although I hope that will always be handled by competent, sensitive counsellors of wide experience. As I said, I think we just have to wait and see how it all pans out – by the look of Luddite’s graph it’s going to be quite a wait. I’m going to brush up on my ‘waiting without eating my own head’ skills, and try and develop my belief that the process will be well monitored.

  10. Is Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith suffering from False Memory Syndrome?
    Or is she consciously Rewriting her Personal History?

    In an article published in the Centrepoint Magazine, a year after she became the Centrepoint doctor, Felicity Goodyear-Smith presented an ‘involved’ interpretation in which she described both her professional and social life being spent in the community:

    “… I have a captive audience to educate with my health beliefs, including access to addressing meetings of the entire community if I wish.
    The small and intimate nature of my Centrepoint practice means I know all my patients personally. I often know what is happening in their lives and those of their families, and can see how this is contributing to their health (or lack of it). It has always been very important to separate my doctor role from the other aspects of me as a person. For this reason I like to confine my doctoring to within the surgery and by appointment (when I am committing my time and energy to being a doctor, and hence do my best), except of course in emergencies. …
    As Centrepoint is where I spend much of my non-doctoring time, and where so many of my social contacts, friends and family live, I have had to be strict about being available medically on a casual basis.”
    Centrepoint Magazine, Issue 42, December 1990, p.12

    Three years later in her book, First do no harm, Dr Goodyear-Smith presented a ‘distancing’ interpretation in her description of how she became the Centrepoint doctor in 1989, after she and John Potter moved their mobile home onto Centrepoint land in 1988 …

    “… Our interim solution was to purchase a mobile home and find somewhere in Albany to locate it.
    After looking round the district, we came to an arrangement with Centrepoint to move our home onto their land, about a kilometre from where the community was sited. There we lived as an autonomous family, quite separate from the community down the hill, for several years …
    Centrepoint’s medical needs were provided by a resident doctor, who had a small surgery set up there. He was elderly and wished to retire. In 1989 at his request I took over his job as Centrepoint doctor and ran regular clinics for the community residents.”
    Goodyear-Smith, F. (1993) First do no harm: the sexual abuse industry. Benton Guy: Auckland, NZ. pp. 9-10

    Which perspective are we to believe? John Potter’s article in the Centrepoint Magazine in 1990 provides useful additional information:
    “Soon after he [Bert] left the community [1988] and moved up the hill to the Gills Road house I realised that things were about to get exciting again. I had done most of the things that I had left the Community to do and basically realised that life around my Dad offered me a lot more than any other place I should find. So I moved back to Albany, not into the community but up to Gills Road next door to Dad.
    The next two years were the best of my life as I rediscovered and enjoyed my relationship with Bert as a dad rather than a guru.”
    Centrepoint Magazine, Issue 41, September 1990, p.5

    In fact, Felicity & John’s house truck was parked close enough to Bert’s house to use its electricity, & they regularly used the laundry & bathroom facilities there.
    So what happened in Bert’s house & in the Community in the years between Dr Goodyear-Smith’s two accounts that motivated her to re-interpret her involvement in the life of the community?
    That’s a story about her patient & father-in-law Bert Potter, LSD, Ecstasy & Ketamine available for viewing on the TVNZ website for a few more days (Beyond the Darklands, Series 3 Episode 5, Bert Potter at:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/beyond-the-darklands/beyond-darklands-s3-e5-video-3389061

  11. Unbelievable. Survivors of Sexual Abuse (SOSA) summit gave me this link – this was all a lot of people could talk about. Had to come and see it for myself and I’m so pleased that it’s all been written in such a way as to be mistaken for fact. Why on earth has this not been truly and utterly rammed down mainstream media’s throats. How dare that woman even come any where near the “other side of the fence” – you can’t be defending sexual abuse and then cross over to the other side and be one of the “research contributors” for the Massey University guidelines which ACC refer to – albeit a butchered version of their recommendations.

    If ACC was so bloody right with this “inhumane system” then why have two women topped themselves as a result of having their claim denied – why are some of my support people having to be on suicide watch for others? This isn’t a lifestyle people choose because they have nothing better to do with their lives – effects of sexual abuse eat away and fester inside people until they become too contaminated to even want to exist any longer. Do we think sending those people off to be (typically) assessed by complete strangers in order to get a “mental injury” diagnoses sound advice? Do we also think that keeping those people in never never land, on average 6 months, while they process that claim sound practice? If it was a private company, that would be all over Fair Go!

    And another thing, while I’m on my rant… there’s always someone who tries to sway the attention to suit their own agenda. What a waste of energy – vagina monologues, “the gays of the 70’s”, what the? Wouldn’t be surprised if that was Ms Badyear-Smith herself posting that.

    Shessh!

  12. Hi Jacquie,

    There are signs some in the media and the court system are starting to investigate and challenge some of Felicity Goodyear-Smith’s claims …
    For example, here’s a link to an article by Tim Hume in the Sunday Star Times (11.10.09) http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/sunday-star-times-wellington-new-zealand/mi_8185/is_20091011/legal-threats-abuse-row/ai_n51671659/

    In the court system her claims to be an expert witness for the defence in sexual abuse & rape cases, in NZ & Australia, has been challenged, as shown in the following sequence of links
    1.1. FGS claims to be an expert witness based on the following list of publications, although her formal academic qualifications are medical & in General Practice:
    http://www.ifpi.org.nz/publications_FGS.html

    1.2. In this 12.10.07 article in the NZ Lawyer magazine FGS claim that gonorrhoea is not necessarily an STI went into print unchallenged: http://www.nzlawyermagazine.co.nz/Archives/Issue75/F6/tabid/588/Default.aspx

    1.3. However a month later the NZ Lawyer printed a detailed rebuttal (9.11.07) by Dr Janet Say & Dr Patrick Kelley:
    http://www.nzlawyermagazine.co.nz/Archives/Issue77/F3/tabid/624/Default.aspx

    1.4. The 2008 NZ Supreme Court Decision dismissal of her ‘gonorrhoea research’ can be accessed by doing a NZ Google search using terms … Goodyear-Smith Supreme Court …
    Then open up the PDF document IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW ZEALAND SC 4/2008 [2008] NZSC 23 A v …

    2. In May 2010 there was a 2nd Supreme Court Decision which challenges FGS’ expertise, ie: the order for a retrial for Gwaze …

    2.1. Back in 2008 a Sunday Star Times article on the Gwaze case (link below) towards the end, described FGS as … “the medical adviser for the defence” …
    “GP and forensic physician Felicity Goodyear-Smith, the medical adviser for the defence, believes that once sexual abuse had been raised, other possible explanations were never considered.”
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/456379

    2.2. However in May 2010 the Supreme Court made the extraordinary decision to order a retrial of the Gwaze case, as reported in the News, eg. TV1 …
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/supreme-court-orders-gwaze-retrial-3546550
    & on National Radio
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2010/05/17/1248042f98c2

    There’s lots to read here but I hope it pulls together some useful information … Barri

  13. It’s interesting to me that Nick Smith continues to stand by the statement by RCNZGP from last year that supports the pathway when most know that Peter Jansen sits on the Committee and was the one rumoured to have written it. Of course the College is how distancing themselves from that statement and have since changed their position.

    I received this email from PJ a few months back where he clearly states that NO endorsement was source for the pathway (again confirming that it was likely him who wrote the RCNZGP statement that Harry Pert signed).

    Hi Lisa, again I note is is not appropriate for me to correspond directly with Members of Parliament.

    You are correct that the Clinical Pathway is not the same as the Massey Guidelines. ACC has not ever suggested that they are the same.

    The Pathway is the mechanism by which clients who lodge a claim will gain access to timely assessment and then effective therapy. A key aspect of the Pathway is early assessment so we can understand what mental injury caused by sexual assault / abuse is present and thereby ensure therapy and support matches the clients needs. There is no shortage of qualified health professionals for undertaking these assessments.
    There was no Pathway prior to October 2009.
    I am sure that nurses like other health professionals support the use of evidence-based practices using tools such as the Massey Guidelines. ACC has recommended that therapists follow the Massey Guidelines.
    The Clinical Pathway does draw on information from the Massey Guidelines. The purpose of that is to ensure ACC funds effective treatment and support based on clinical needs identified by qualified health professionals. ACC has not sought endorsement of the Pathway, as responsibility for this arrangement rests with ACC.
    regards, Peter Jansen

    So if ACC had in fact source endorsement we wouldn’t have been in this mess now and yes, from what I have read of FSG research and ideologies it does sound like a pathway created around some of her ideas. It will interesting to know if she was consulted and/or on the “expert” panel working in this area. How embarassing for the Government if that turns out to be the case!

    • Wow, what a stunning email from Peter Jansen – thank you Lisa for sharing. I am keen to find out how embedded Ms Goodyear-Smith’s ideas about sexual abuse are within ACC, and will continue following this up.
      Take care,
      LJ

  14. I just also wanted to add another research report I read done by FGS that was published which may also explain why ACC think it’s ok to ask about abuse issues over and over again to strangers in one off assessments.

    http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/117-1205/1146/

    Notice, “In Auckland (where patients were recruited by a research assistant), 23 patients actively declined to participate (97.75% response rate). In the other regions, the refusal rate was not recorded, but it is unlikely to differ significantly from the Auckland rate.”

    Given the fact Susanne Brighouse, whom I understood was Susanne Mendelssohn, convicted child sex offender before changing her name (correct me if I’m wrong?) was the research assistant here and there are no results from other centres, can we really trust the results? Is it even ethical having someone like Susanne Brighouse involved in the collection and interpretation of such data?

    There are also no DIRECT questions about sexual abuse yet she concludes based only on the Auckland data collected by Susanne:

    “This is the first multi-item lifestyle and mental-health screening questionnaire in the literature. It was very acceptable to patients in both urban and rural settings. For example, only 0.4% of patients objected to the question on abuse, and this included three patients who objected to every question. This compares very favourably with other screening studies, where 15 to 57% of female patients objected to being asked about abuse.”

    It doesn’t say that maybe also people didn’t and haven’t disclosed abuse for whatever reason (shame, guilt, fear, it occurred by a family member and this is the family GP, etc, etc) and the implications of that on the research yet she explores some of the limitations with disclosing cannabis use. Then she concludes, people don’t for the most part have issues talking about abuse? WTF??

    So yip I agree a lot of her very SLANTED research appears to be determining policy in this area.

  15. Just popping in to say “well done Lisa.” You know in the scrolls of information you have gallantly gathered over the last few months that there is some seriously questionable actions that FGS needs to answer and you’re doing a fine job. Remember, nothing is defamatory if it’s true so…breath hun.
    Jacquie

  16. Thank you Lisa for the link to the FGS ‘Lifestyle screening’ paper
    and for your analysis and reading of the fine print with its listing of Susanne Brighouse as Research Assistant in the following para:

    “We thank Tim Kenealy, Research Fellow at the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care (for his initial input and preliminary testing of the tool); Susanne Brighouse, Research Assistant (for the urban GP phase); Wendy Findlay, Practice Nurse Education Co-coordinator, Southlink Health Inc (for the Otago practice nurse phase), and all the GPs, practice nurses, and especially patients (for contributing to this study).”

    Yes, Susanne Brighouse was formerly Susanne Mendelssohn who I believe had two convictions in the early 90s (I’m willing to be corrected if I’m wrong): one for sexual abuse of under-age girl(s?) with former husband Dave Mendelssohn and a second conviction for perjury over drugs at Centrepoint.

    There are some serious questions to be asked … perhaps by responsible investigative journalists:

    Were appropriate Med School protocols followed in the appointment of SB as the Research Assistant?
    ie. As I understand the Research Assistant’s job was for 3 days per week for 3 years at approx $30,000 p.a. of public/taxpayer, health budget money, was the job advertised & processed through Human Resources with transparent criminal record checks & did the job go to the most appropriately qualified applicant … or was it ‘jobs for mates’ given the close friendship & lifestyle links between FGS & SB.

    Was the Ethics Committee which passed the project fully informed of these factors in order to give their consent?

    Were the other researchers fully informed of the close connections of the lead researcher & the research assistant to Centrepoint sexual offending? (I understand SB is no longer employed as FGS’s research assistant).

    Is Dr Peter Jansen fully informed about the close connections of both the lead researcher & the research assistant to Centrepoint sexual offending, while he appears to be relying on FGS research in his design of the ACC SCU Clinical Pathways?

    Barri

  17. So when is all this info going to be given to Simon Collins, NZ Herald – he’s been covering the ACC stories for months now. I wonder if he knows of these “seedy” connections…

  18. Well very true Barri,
    Auckland University also have a lot to answer for. How can someone who is a close friend of FGS get the job of research assistant and then work in clinical areas when she has been convicted of child sex abuse? Seems the ‘old boys club’ with doctors is indeed true. They are above the law and the same employment and venting process doesn’t apply to them.

    What a joke! Don’t go sending your kids to Auckland Medical School where ANYONE can be teaching your kids (without background checks) and they learn any ideologies they see fit to teach even if they aren’t EXPERTS in that field and aren’t RESPECTED by the clinicians currently working in the actual areas. SHAME ON AUCKLAND MEDICAL SCHOOL and shame on ACC for being SUCKED into that web of lies.

  19. People wonder what does FGS have to gain from all these ideologies of hers now that her husband and friends have served their sentences. Shouldn’t they be allowed to move on?

    Massey University’s Dept of Psychology research into the experiences of Centrepoint’s 2nd generation, ie. those who spent significant years of their childhood at Centrepoint, including the years when FGS was the GP has been released recently and while it discusses many issues it also talks about various under-age boys having sex with older woman in the CP community.

    http://www.publictrust.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/42222/FINAL-Centrepoint-Report-for-Release-31.03.10.pdf

    I’m not a lawyer but I know female sex with under-age boys was not illegal in NZ until 2005 and Centrepoint closed in 2000. So they must be worried in light of the law change and the Massey research what may still be in store for them through the legal justice system. Remembering those convicted in the past were only for child sex with females so NO prosecution has been brought to them from the many now adult men. So that in large is what I think hangs around FGS and other ex-Centrepoint Members necks and is the reason why she has to be soooo invested in changing ideologies and policy.

  20. Hi Lisa,

    That’s a possibility for sure, but also there are possibly other forms of criminally & professionally inappropriate sexual contact with CP General Practice patients which could potentially provide strong motivation for trying to achieve policy changes.

    For instance, the section on Justice in the Report you’ve provided a link to, also indicates some young women feel there’s a potential for further charges against CP men which could possibly be a motivating concern for FGS.

    Also, I have in my files a mid-90s half page newspaper article by Camille Guy titled Doctors in love, with pics of FGS & Robin Briant, then the Med Council Chairwoman. (probably a Herald article but date not recorded). The article refers to another article in the June NZ Med Journal of that year in which FGS advocated for doc-patient sex not necessarily being harmful while RB strongly reiterated the Med Council position re the potential for psychological harm.

    Some former CP-people have deep remorse for what occurred & strive to do as much as can be done to provide assistance to those harmed there …
    Others don’t want to know …
    While others deny any harm occurred and strive to make themselves right and helping agencies & their policies wrong … this 3rd group are the group of concern. The strategy seems to be: First deny doing Harm … Second deny doing Harm … Continue denying doing Harm … …

    Barri

  21. Yes I had forgotton about that article.

    The reference for it is:
    “Doctors in love” by Guy, Camille
    New Zealand Herald, (29 Jan 1994) section.2 pg.2

  22. Oh yeah and the Medical Journal article you refer to Barri is:

    “Sexual issues in the doctor/patient relationship”

    Author: Goodyear-Smith, Felicity

    In: New Zealand Medical Journal, 9 Jun 1993; v.106 n.957:p.227-229

    Challenges the assumption of the Ontario Task Force report
    that doctors may never have sexual relations with their patients. Questions the definitions of abuse and the presuppositions about the dependence of female patients in medical relationship. Urges the NZ medical profession not to adopt a policy of zero tolerance and mandatory reporting.

  23. I don’t see how people associated with abuse in the Centrepoint community can be seriously considered more “objective” or “scientific” in discussing matters relating to abuse than those that they vilify and point the finger at themselves. I mean, the idea that adult/child sex can be considered “normal” is abhorrent. The fact that such controversial figures as Dr Goodyear-Smith and John Potter are claiming to be serious and credible spokespeople on child abuse moral panics should have been seriously questioned by COSA years ago, and makes a joke out of their supposed scientific objectivity on the subject. Funny that COSA no longer exists yet Rape Crisis, MSSAT etc are still going, eh? But hardly surprising given that the free love brigade were running it. And to have Dr Goodyear-Smith as an advisor on Clinical Pathways for ACC-why did they not see a problem with this?

  24. Pingback: On rabid feminists | A Bee of a Certain Age

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