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The Me Too Collective

A safe space for people who have experienced sexual harm

to connect with others, get legal advice and report as a group.

The problem

Sexual harassment and assault is prevalent in New Zealand yet it is the most under reported form of harm. With little accountability, many perpetrators develop a pattern of behaviour and harm multiple people over time. So why are reporting rates so low? Major factors include a reluctance to navigate the legal system alone and a fear of not being believed. 

The solution

The Me Too Collective will provide an innovative matching service to connect individuals who have experienced sexual harm committed by the same perpetrator. Once matched, each group will be advised by a lawyer on reporting collectively to the Police or filing a civil claim in court. The lawyer will represent the group from start to finish.

How it works

1

Register

Prospective Me Too Collective members register via on online portal and provide identifying information about themselves and the perpetrator, the nature of the sexual harm, location and timeframe. 

2

Information on psychological support

Members are provided with information on how to access any government funded psychological support as well as private non-funded options.  

3

Matching of members

When there is a match of two of more members who have experienced harmed from the same perpetrator, an initial assessment is undertaken by a team of lawyers.

4

Identity verification

The identities of prospective members are verified using an automated biometric platform. This protects members by preventing anyone acting maliciously from infiltrating the Me Too Collective in an attempt undermine its integrity.

5

Information sharing

Each member in the group is contacted individually by a lawyer and informed they have been matched with others. The lawyer obtains further information about their individual circumstances.  

6

Initial legal advice

A lawyer provides legal advice to the group on both the criminal and civil justice systems, including potential outcomes. 

7

Connect

Each member decides whether they want to be identified to the others in their group, or if they want to withdraw.  

8

Report

Each group decides if they want to report to Police, report to the relevant regulatory body or file a civil claim in court. Their lawyer will provide legal representation from start to finish. 

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Alison Mau

Co-Founder and COO

Alison is the creator and Editor of the #MeTooNZ journalism project at Stuff Ltd. In its five-year run (February 2018 - June 2023) the project changed the way sexual harassment is reported by media outlets in Aotearoa, using a  survivor-foucssed and trauma-informed kaupapa.   The project was contacted by hundreds of survivors, and published dozens of major investigations into cases of sexual harassment across the country. In 2021, Alison won the premier Reporter of the Year prize at the Voyager Journalism Awards, with judges commending her “fearless, determined pursuits that deserve the highest commendation.”

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Zoë Lawton

Co-Founder and Legal Counsel

Prior to becoming a barrister, Zoë was a researcher for the Chief Victims Advisor to Government at the Ministry of Justice. She has undertaken a range of advocacy initiatives to raise awareness of sexual harm and the need to improve legal processes. This includes her widely read #MeToo Blog, research, consultation, media appearances and public speaking. She currently teaches a course on legal ethics at the University of Auckland.

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Maria Dew KC

Legal Counsel

 

Maria is a highly experienced civil litigator and was appointed King's Counsel in 2018. She has extensive expertise advising clients who have experienced sexual harm and advising organisations seeking to improve their reporting processes. She has been appointed as independent counsel to conduct investigations into sexual harm in a range of contexts, including employment, sport and education. Currently the President of the NZ Bar Association, Maria has a strong interest in access to justice initiatives.

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Nura Taefi

Legal Counsel

Nura is an experienced civil litigator who appears at all levels of New Zealand’s courts and tribunals. She has considerable expertise advising clients who have experienced sexual harm, works as an independent investigator and represents parties in investigations and inquiries. She holds a masters in law with distinction from University College London and is a member of the New Zealand Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

FAQ

What is sexual harm?

Examples include: unwelcome sexually offensive jokes, questions and comments, breaching a person's privacy by recording sexual images without their consent, threatening to harm a person in a sexual way, coercing a person into sexual activity, touching someone against their will, sexual assault, and rape.

Does it matter when and where it happened?

The Me Too Collective is for people who experienced sexual harm at any age in their: workplace, tertiary education institution, sport organisation, community organisation or religious organisation. However, people must be 18 years of age or over at the time of registration with the Me Too Collective.

Is the Me Too Collective open to people of all genders and ages?

Yes, people of all genders are welcome to register.

If I register with the Me Too Collective how will my privacy be protected?

All members of the Me Too Collective are protected by lawyer/client privilege. This means that information provided by members cannot be shared with others unless members provide consent.  

Is there a fee to join?

All legal services provided by the Me Too Collective will be free.

How can I get more information?

Further information about the registration process will be made available when the Me Too Collective is officially launched. You can receive updates on our launch date by following us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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