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Counsellors support ACC review

Counsellors support ACC review – but it’s not enough!

The Government is right to demand that the ACC Sensitive Claims Unit is reviewed, but this is not far enough, the new process still needs to be stopped.

Nick Smith has repeatedly followed ACC’s insistence that the new “pathway” for sexual abuse claims is a result of research undertaken by Massey University This is not the case, ACC’s management are hiding their motives behind a smokescreen of so called clinical expertise.

The New Zealand Association of Counsellors challenges ACC to properly reference the new pathway and to say which parts of the research support it.

In general we have no issues with the “Guidelines” put out by ACC and researched by Massey University” says Eric Medcalf, NZAC Ethics Chair. “It’s the new administrative Pathway that is the problem. ACC management have chosen to selectively interpret the conclusions and use them for their own cost cutting agenda. This is a deliberate distortion of scientific research for commercial gain, at the expense of victims of crime.

“The Massey research rightly draws distinctions between the treatment needs of usually well functioning people who are sexually assaulted as adults and those who have been abused as children. Knowledge gained from brain imaging has shown that childhood experience of trauma affects brain development in ways that one- off attacks in adulthood do not. ACC is generalising from research on adult survivors and applying it to survivors of childhood abuse, and in doing so risks deterring survivors from seeking help, retraumatisation and a denial of proper and effective treatment ”.

The ACC pathway is being led by Dr Peter Jansen, a previously well respected GP and innovator in Māori health. However, his imposition of these new ACC rules appears to breach his ethical code:

“Commercial interests of an employer, health provider, or doctor must not interfere with the free exercise of clinical judgement in determining the best ways of meeting the needs of individual patients or the community, nor with the capacities of individual doctors to co-operate with other health providers in the interests of their patients, nor compromise standards of care or autonomy of patients in order to meet financial or commercial targets. (NZ Medical Association Code of Ethics, para 57)”.

NZAC urges ACC to stop the imposition of its new pathway whilst the review is under way and also to enter into meaningful dialogue with the professional associations on a fair, humane and scientifically justifiable service for the victims of sexual crimes.


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