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Rape Crisis Please With ACC Reform Pace

Rape Crisis praised the swift action by the new Government to introduce legislation reforming the accident compensation sector.

"In many cases opening up the market to private insurers has actually led to increased insurance costs for our collectives," said Claire Benson, National Spokeswoman for Rape Crisis, "This is a cost the voluntary welfare and the community sectors simply cannot afford."

Rape Crisis welcomes the planned improvements to accident compensation, particularly the reintroduction of entitlements to lump sum compensation.

"Until 1992 survivors of sexual abuse were eligible for lump sum compensation of $10,000 and counselling costs for around 20 sessions," said Ms Benson, "The change to the law slashed the compensation that had enabled so many survivors to heal their lives. While counselling costs remain, we have seen this erode over the last seven years to a level that many survivors would consider not worth bothering about."

Survivors of sexual abuse are currently eligible for an initial ten sessions of counselling that must be taken within ten weeks. Rape Crisis believes this is not conducive to the therapeutic process and has been imposed to suit bureacratic purposes. The cost for each counselling session has only increased from $50 to $55 in the last seven years, leading to experienced counsellors leaving to practice in more lucrative areas.

"The trauma resulting from rape and sexual abuse is different to that suffered from a broken leg - of course it will take longer," said Ms Benson, "Many survivors need long-term well-funded therapy. Often they have had their education hindered and opportunites in life taken away from them by the sexual abuse - lump sum compensation can give them back choices."

For more information contact Claire Benson, National Spokeswoman, Rape Crisis, 021 684 227 or (04) 384 7028.

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