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Commission welcomes support for sex abuse victims

Commission welcome back down on support for sex abuse victims

The Human Rights Commission welcomes ACC’s decision announced today to reverse funding cuts and the provision of extra support to sexual abuse victims.

“The cuts to costs of treatment for sexual abuse ‘sensitive claims’ has put considerable pressure on victims and increased their fears and anxiety,” said Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor.

From Monday, 16 August, people with a new sensitive claim related to sexual abuse or sexual assault and those whose claim is awaiting a decision will be able to have up to 16 hours with a counsellor funded by the ACC.

Dr McGregor said it remained to be established whether this was sufficient for sensitive cases such as those who had suffered child sexual abuse or more than one sexual assault.

The Commission was strongly opposed to the cuts at the time they were made and said that the delays in gaining approval from ACC for assistance to partially meet the costs of treatment “had been alarmingly protracted”.

The Commission welcomed the fact that ACC has listened to the concerns expressed by several groups.

When changes were made recently to ACC legislation, the Commission expressed concern to the Select Committee about the proposed cuts to be made by regulation.

The Commission said counselling for people who had been sexually abused or assaulted should be fully funded by ACC and the cost of services should not be a barrier to access. The cuts placed considerable stress on a very vulnerable group and delayed their recovery and integration back into society and employment.

ENDS

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