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HELP's 24 hour crisis phone line still under funded

27 November 2012

HELP's 24 hour crisis phone line still under funded

“Ms Bennett is inaccurate in stating that the Ministries negotiations with HELP are underway. In fact, the negotiations have been completed leaving a shortfall of $116,000 for the 24 hour sexual assault phone line. HELP have not been contacted by any of the Ministries since 19 November” said Leonie Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children.

“It is outrageous that the Government is still not providing adequate and sustainable funding to HELP, support for sexual abuse survivors.

“One in five women are sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime. HELP receives 230 calls a week from victims of sexual assault and rape. How many of these people will miss out on services over night, – the time when rape happens and when survivors are most in need of comfort and support?”

The Coalition is organising a flashmob at 5.30pm this Wednesday to pressure the Government to fund HELP‘s 24 hour sexual assault telephone crisis line.

HELP provides specialist sexual assault services – this is important as the wrong or inexperienced support and help can traumatise and damage victims of sexual violence.

“After stating in December 2011 that they were committed to ensuring sustainable funding to the HELP crisis and 24 hour phone service, the Government has come up with a package that under-funds the service by $116,000 – a lot of money for HELP – a tiny amount for the Government.”

Phone services for Auckland victims of sexual assault and rape will be drastically cut because of this decision. HELP will be forced to lay off specialist staff and cut services before Christmas.

“For victims of sexual assault and rape, the potential to suffer devastating mental health consequences is very high and early intervention must be seen as a survivor’s right. HELP provides this essential support.”

The Auckland Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children was developed in 2006 to strategise and work toward achieving the ultimate goal of safety for women and children in Auckland.

We have undertaken a number of innovative activities including a competition for young people to make a video for YouTube on violence against young women and a community development programme involving small businesses making a commitment to speaking out against domestic violence.

Members:
• Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP
• Auckland Women’s Centre
• Blow the Whistle on Violence
• Homeworks Trust
• Inner City Women’s Group
• Mental Health Foundation
• Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd
• Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri
• SHINE Safer Homes in NZ Everyday
• Supportline Women’s Refuge
• Women’s Health Action Trust

ENDS

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