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Closure of Christchurch Agency Helping Abuse Victims

NZ Counsellors Concerned at Closure of Christchurch Agency Helping Abuse Victims

The New Zealand Association of Counsellors has strong concerns about recent changes to government funding criteria which has prompted the closure of a Christchurch sexual violence support service.

NZAC Canterbury spokesperson Sarah Maindonald says longstanding counselling agencies in Christchurch are affected by the recent changes to MSD funding.

“Monarch, START and Rata counselling services have been significantly affected by these changes with Monarch, which delivers the SafeCare service, now having to close its doors.

“This is of great concern for youth and families in Christchurch needing counselling for victims of sexual violence. This government has pledged to attend to the effects of child abuse in this country but how can our children and women heal if these services aren’t readily available?”

“Monarch has offered a robust and professional service to women victims of domestic and sexual violence over 22 years and their SafeCare work they provide to the police is critical in terms of keeping women safe post crisis.”

Police referred up to four cases a day to SafeCare in Christchurch which has seen a 40 per cent rise in the number of reported sexual assaults since 2010.

“Given the post-earthquake context in Christchurch, this is the last thing the community needs. To have an agency which has served women and child victims of sexual violence for the past 22 years close its doors is absolutely negligent.”

The NZAC says it is committed to safe, ethical and professional counselling services and would hope any service offered to women in the future would ensure appropriate professional membership, training and supervision in this specialist area.

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