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Access to support after rape and sexual assault

21 April 2005

New referral booklet designed to ease access to support after rape and sexual assault

Following the closure of Hawke’s Bay Rape Crisis, representatives from a range of community organisations teamed up to produce a booklet which details where and how people who have been raped or sexually assaulted can get help and support.

The booklet has been designed to help support agencies quickly refer women to the most appropriate services to meet their needs. The booklet will be distributed to agencies where survivors of rape and sexual assault are likely to make contact.

Those needing help are most likely to phone or visit an agency offering general support, like, Victim Support, Lifeline, Citizens Advice Bureau, Women’s Centre, Community Law and others.

The booklet is divided into two sections - a quick reference by location (Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa) and a detailed section outlining contact details and the types of services provided. Women have a wide choice of agencies offering support and can find out what is available closest to them.

There are over 35 agencies and groups offering support and help for survivors of rape and sexual assault. Services range from crisis assistance, support and counselling.

“The range of agencies will give people choices to find the help the best suits them, rather than one group trying to be all things to all people. It also means that services are available locally for people throughout Hawke’s Bay with Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa,” said Shari Tidswell, spokesperson for the group, and health promoter with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

“The group working on the booklet have been doing this on top of their existing work so it has been a long process. After nearly a year of working on the resource it is great to have it going out to community groups and for it to be finally filling the gap it was designed for,” Shari said.

“We pre-tested the booklet with a range of people, and without exception the feedback has been very positive, especially as it is so easy to use.

Marilynn Taylor from Hastings Victim Support says “this will be a great help in working with the people referred to us”. For those people phoning Lifeline it will mean a referral can be made or at least suggestions of where to go next, this is reassuring for a person in crisis or wanting to get help,” says Neil McDonald, coordinator of Lifeline Hawke’s Bay.

For its next project the group plans to produce a resource aimed at youth: “How to Get Help” and they will be looking at the future direction for Hawke’s Bay support services.

ENDS

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