Award for sexual abuse prevention research

Psychologist is awarded for her Sexual abuse prevention research. File image: Sunlive.

University of Auckland psychologist, Dr Gwenda Willis, is this year’s recipient of the Hunter Award from the New Zealand Psychological Society.

Gwenda was presented the award at the recent NZPS’ annual conference in Rotorua in recognition of her impressive body of research in the fields of forensic and correctional psychology and sexual abuse prevention.

The society noted her published work and innovations in clinical practice have gained her international recognition among those working on the treatment of sexual abuse and that the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuse made her a fellow in 2018.

Gwenda has conducted research into the treatment of those who have sexually abused, and her work has made an important contribution to their effective reintegration in society.

Other 2019 award recipients were: Dr Waikaremoana Waitoki, Val Bridge, Dr Matthew Hammond and Caitlin Helme.

Waikato University clinical psychologist, Waikaremoana, has made significant contributions to the development of culturally safe, effective theory and practice in clinical psychology achieved through the advancement of indigenous psychologies here and overseas.

Her published research draws on tikanga and mātauranga Māori to better understand and improve Māori people’s experiences in and of psychology.

Educational psychologist, Val has specialised in work with students with a mental disability or other complex needs. The Society believes she has been an exemplary practitioner, mentor and leader in the profession of educational psychology within Aotearoa for more than 30 years.

The research by Matthew from Victoria University focuses on the area of relationships and sexism. His research involves sophisticated methodological and analytic tools that are employed in pushing the bounds of contemporary social science research in important areas.

In receiving this award, the Society recognises that Matthew has achieved and displayed excellence in his early career research and scholarship.

Caitlin’s doctoral research at Massey University addresses the important issue of sexual violence and access to services for people in the disability community. The particular needs of people with disabilities when attempting to access services following experiences of sexual violence are often overlooked in both research and service provision.

This research will provide an important and original contribution to the development of our understanding of sexual violence, along with access to appropriate treatments and services in New Zealand, NZPS spokesperson says.

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