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ACC Accused Of to "Psychological Torture"

ACC Accused Of to "Psychological Torture"

Press Release From ACCLAIM Otago

The ACC Minister Ruth Dyson, was challenged by members of Greypower at a Southland meeting yesterday over claims that ACC staff and contractors were subjecting claimants to "psychological torture" Karen Arnold of the Southland Times reported. Faced with a barrage of questions the ACC Minister Ruth Dyson, said she would personally take up any case where a person felt inclined to contemplate suicide because of treatment by ACC staff.

Allegations had been made that more than 20 ACC claimants have committed suicide because of ACC's treatment of them. Several cases have been documented in the Coroner's Court in which family members have stated it was the ACC's attitude and harassment that contributed to the suicide. ACCLAIM members have raised this issue with Ms Dyson several times in the past with no satisfactory response.

Ms Dyson said "It was a big change to change the culture of an organization but the Government was working towards it."

Meanwhile ACCLAIM members in Christchurch have asked Attorney-General Margaret Wilson for consent under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989 to bring proceedings for the trial and punishment of ACC and some employees because it is alleged they are intentionally inflicting severe pain or suffering being mental harm and are intimidating and/or coercing claimants.

Section 12 of the Crimes of Torture Act requires the consent of the Attorney-General,to bring such proceedings. Ms Wilson has refused consent saying that she did not consider that those types of Acts could ever meet the exceptional nature of an "act of torture" within the Crimes of Torture Act.

ACCLAIM members say that is not her prerogative and it is for the Courts decide what are crimes of torture and what they are complaining of is definitely defined as torture in that Act. They accuse Ms Wilson of denying them access to justice and have requested a meeting with her.

Ms Wilson has also been accused of failing to give a Section 7 notification to Parliament of possible breaches of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 when the new Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation Bill, as it was then, was being enacted.

ACCLAIM says that when the Injury Bill was finally enacted by Parliament it contained serious breaches and inconsistencies with the NZ Bill of Rights Act.


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