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Dollars Speak Louder for Refuge Than Words

12 May 2006

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Dollars Speak Louder for Refuge Than Words

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) calls upon the government for immediate action to address the insufficient funding received by Women's Refuge.

"The proposed 20% increase in Child, Youth and Family funding outlined by Minister Dyson simply does not go far enough to impact on the Refuge's bottom line for operations," said Christine Low, National President NCWNZ. "At the very least, the government needs to address the current deficit; otherwise the Refuge will be left with little choice but to cut back on services, such as their Crises line. Four million dollars is needed for the current crisis now."

"This is a matter of economics - if women can no longer access the services provided by the Refuge, then providing a safe haven will fall upon government agencies such as the Police and Child, Youth and Family. Can they deliver the quality of service at bargain-basement rates, which the Refuge has been expected to do for the last ten years?”

"The domestic violence figures in this country are abysmal and the strategies in place to address this will not have immediate impact," said Low. "Women and children have to be protected right now and this is an opportunity for the Government to get rid of the hand to mouth existence the Refuge has been operating under. This is a matter of social responsibility - the Government has to recognise that the Refuge can no longer continue to fund a service with cake stalls and goodwill."

The National Council of Women supports the Government's intention to look at the viability of providing a package of funding with other Government agencies recognising their interests through investment. The Minister identified government agencies such as Health, ACC and Housing.

"This approach would be useful," concluded Low, "however, in the case of the Ministry of Health, it has insufficient funding to adequately support PlunketLine, and other NGOs contracted to provide services have indicated inadequate funding provisions."

ENDS

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