GWNZ Fellowship 2022-2023

Caitlin Helme

Caitlin is a full-time student working towards her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She completed her undergraduate and honours studies at the University of Otago, before moving to Wellington for her post-graduate training at Massey University. While in Wellington Caitlin began working part-time in the sexual violence sector and saw first-hand the devastating impact that violence has on women in Aotearoa (where we have some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the developed world). This was especially true for people who already experienced social marginalisation — e.g., disabled women, queer people, Māori, and Pasifika — who then also had less appropriate avenues for support. Being a member of the disability community herself Caitlin found this immensely troubling, so she drew upon this experience in planning her doctorate research — ultimately aspiring to improve the lives of survivors who experience multiple marginalisation. With Covid-19 arriving early on in Caitlin’s research journey, the pandemic also uniquely positioned her to explore the impact that Covid-19 has had on the sexual violence sector in real time. Caitlin is passionate about equity and social justice, and looks forward to this informing the way she works as a future clinical psychologist.