Statistics show that one-third of transgender and non-binary people have experienced sexual violence, and only 7.1% of instances of sexual violence are reported to police. Founding member of the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network, Angelo Libeau, talks to Oliver Hall about the importance of all of us driving to eliminate sexual violence.

Angelo Libeau grew up in Tauranga, raised within the Mormon Church, an upbringing he tells us was “complicated to navigate.”

Being Filipino on my mothers side, having a disconnection from my Māori whakapapa on my fathers side, being young, queer, trans, and brown – and growing up in a place that in many ways can feel very conservative and threatened by difference and change.”


A founding member of the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network and a current member of HELP Auckland (an organisation that supports sexual abuse survivors), Angelo tells us that experiencing violence and discrimination firsthand led him to a career trying to prevent others from experiencing the same.

There is something incredibly powerful about metabolising those experiences and having the strength and confidence first to stand in your mana and then to use that strength to take action to prevent further harm,” he tells us.

A media release sent out before the election by Te Ōhaakii ā Hine National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST) has resurfaced some startling facts about sexual violence in Aotearoa. Firstly, one-third of transgender and non-binary people experience sexual violence, with only 11% receiving support from a specialist sexual violence service (Veale, Byrne, Tan, Guy, Yee, Nopera & Bentham, 2019). Secondly, only 7.1% of instances of sexual violence are reported to police. Of that, 31% result in prosecution, 13% result in conviction, and 6% result in incarceration (Ministry of Justice, 2015). The release emphasised that sexual violence in New Zealand should be a significant election issue.‘

The election result means we will see a new Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention stepping up. The position was previously held by the Green Partys Jan Logie and Marama Davidson.

There are specific aspects of my work that have to do with structural violence and the ways this contributes to interpersonal violence,” laments Angelo.

This involves intentional space-making for people to have their unique harms responded to. We also need diverse and specific ways to prevent it. We have been fortunate to have people who have experience in this area working at a higher level, including people like Jan Logie and Marama Davidson. They have both deeply understood these needs and have pioneered some of the changes that need to occur in relationships with the sector and communities. Just one of these developments has been the development of Te Aorerekura, a 25-year strategy to eliminate family and sexual violence within Aotearoa.”

When asked what he would like to see from the new Minister for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention, Angelo explains, The change we need is deep and transformative work focussed on enhancing our sector workforces, strengthening our education and health sectors, empowering our communities, whānau, hapu, and iwi, and many legislative and justice reforms that we need to see our violence statistics begin to decline. Seeing these changes needs involvement from both communities and specialists.

“I hope that with a new Minister and any potential changes in the current working models, the commitment to that generational change, evidence-based approaches, and genuine work towards healthy relationships will not only be maintained but strengthened. Those of us who are advocates will continue to push for the changes we know need to happen, despite whatever government is in power at any time.”

Angelo also reminds us that becoming an advocate and helping to drive that change is something we can all contribute to. He suggests, Being a supportive person to your friends, a reliable and safe partner full of love, a safe place for people to land – those are things that anyone can do or be, but so often the journey to get there can be so painful and confronting that people avoid it. Much of this needs to be done in relationships, not only between people but also within communities and organisations.”

To find out more about the work of TOAH-NNEST and HELP Auckland, visit and