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Shavaughn Ruakere joins campaign to save crisis line

Shortland Street Star Shavaughn Ruakere jumps on board campaign to save crisis line for Aucklanders, while Aucklanders petition MP Nikki Kaye on Facebook

Shortland Street star Shavaughn Ruakere has written an open letter to Prime Minister John Key, calling on the PM to ensure Auckland’s 24/7 sexual violence crisis line remains open beyond Christmas. Ruakere's open letter joins with over 12,000 people who have signed a petition on Change.org calling on the Key government to stop the closure of the service. While celebrities like Ruakere went public with support, nearly 300 impassioned messages appeared on Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye's Facebook page as Aucklanders appealed to her to save their service.

Ruarkere says she was inspired to write the open letter to Key because of her recent experience on Shortland Street, in which her character Roimata was sexually assaulted in a story line. Ruakere relays the importance of the crises line based on this encounter in her letter to Key:

“I had the chance to talk to Help crisis line counselling staff to find out what it's like for victims of sexual violence. In the middle of the night when they feel like they can't go on, this service can be the difference between life and death. When court processes are underway, and women and children are testifying about what they've suffered, this is the service they call on. This experience has shown me we can’t afford to lose the crisis line.”

The Change.org petition starter Kirsty McCully says that it's time for the government to keep its word.

“It’s surreal that within a year of committing to ongoing funding for this vital service, Key has back-flipped and pulled their funding," Ms McCully says.

"It’s a real let down, and I think people really feel that Key has broken his promise to the Auckland community."

“Last time, people poured their hearts out on Key’s Facebook page, explaining why they wanted the service saved. But it seems that the PM wasn’t really listening."

“He’s letting an amount as small as $116,000—less than 1/3 of his annual salary—stand between the women and children of Auckland and the crisis service they need."

"This time, Key is deleting posts on his Facebook page about the closure, so Aucklanders have petitioned Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, with over 300 messages being posted on her page in under 2 hours"

"This is an overwhelming response which clearly shows the support the 24/7 sexual violence crisis service has in the Auckland community. Kaye must now act to ensure Prime Minister Key gets the message from Aucklanders".

The service has only three weeks of funding left before cuts have to be made.


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