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Time to take action over sexual violence

Time to take action over sexual violence

It is time for the government to take action to support the sexual violence sector, say key agencies for survivors in Wellington.

Wellington Help Foundation and Wellington Rape Crisis agree with the recommendations of the long-awaited report into the funding of specialist sexual violence services. However, they caution that funding cuts and continuing uncertainty for the sector makes it difficult to ensure that all survivors of sexual violence are able to get the support they need..

General Manager of the Wellington Help Foundation Helen Sullivan says the report is a good summary and it highlights many of the same issues the taskforce of sexual violence found in 2009.

“It is six years since the Report from Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence was released and the central issue in that report and the Select Committee Inquiry is that the overall underfunding of services, including prevention, and the lack of clear government action has a major impact on our efforts to reduce the cost of sexual violence on the lives of individuals, family and whanau and our communities as a whole. While some significant steps have been taken we still have much to do”.

While both agencies acknowledge some of the gains made since 2009, they say the precarious nature of funding remains unchanged and, as the report acknowledges, many of the changes the sector has seen still do not address the basic service needs of survivors.

Wellington Rape Crisis Manager Eleanor Butterworth says:

“Currently no agencies have funding past June 2016 and this creates instability in the sector and while ACC service design is certainly an improvement it doesn’t cover the provision of drop in centres, crisis lines or long term support work a person may need to be ready and able to access ACC counselling”

The overall message from the two agencies is that enough information has been gathered which creates a consistent picture of high and varied need and increasing demand and it is time for the funding and energy to be directed into strengthening and growing frontline services.

Wellington Rape Crisis and the Wellington Sexual Abuse Help foundation provide free counselling and support to hundreds of survivors of rape and sexual abuse of their families and friends every year.


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