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Funding cuts results in loss of sexual violence services

Government funding cuts results in loss of sexual violence services

The only 24/7 sexual violence crisis callout service in Christchurch will have to stop its services because the Government has cut its funding, said the Green Party today.

The Survivors of Sexual Violence Trust, which runs SAFECARE, works closely with a number of organisations to provide specialist sexual violence services for women in Canterbury. The Police refer about four cases a day. The centre has told the Green party that unless funding is found by Friday, this service will stop as will all counselling services.

“Christchurch women dealing with the trauma of sexual violence will have nowhere to turn in the middle of the night after Friday, when funding cuts will force SAFECARE to close and counselling to stop,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said today.

“Yesterday in Parliament Social Development Minister Paula Bennett turned down a Green Party and Labour Party invitation to work across the political divide on domestic and sexual violence saying it was all about ‘services on the ground’.

“Paula Bennett claims that the National Government is focusing on ‘things that make a difference’, but in reality, it is cutting funding for front line services that make all the difference to victims of sexual violence.

“Today she claimed it must be ‘financially viable’ to run these services.

“SAFECARE was declined for funding from four philanthropic trusts in Christchurch after the announcement of the $10.4 million for specialist services and this has threatened their financial viability. The Government can step in when needed and this is a time they should.

“Services provided by SAFECARE make a real difference for women at an enormously traumatic time in their lives. The fact that there has been an increase in violence against women in Christchurch since the earthquakes just makes this situation worse.

“SAFECARE’s case is one of the worst examples of the impact of funding cuts to sexual and domestic violence services which are causing organisations throughout the country to cut back on vital services.

“The Government must urgently review funding for sexual and domestic violence following its funding criteria tightening and the removal of the Community Response Fund and put a stop to the closure of more services.

“The Green Party is committed to ensuring that vital services, such as SAFECARE, are funded so that they can continue to help women. The women of Canterbury need this service to continue and we are committed to ensuring this happens,” said Ms Logie.


Ends

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