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Govt covers funding for Auck sexual abuse crisis

Government covers funding for Auckland sexual abuse crisis service

23 December 2009

Auckland sexual abuse victims will continue to have access to a critical 24-hour telephone support line in 2010, thanks to a government funding response.

The telephone support line, operated by the Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP foundation, provides confidential support, information and advice for a range of callers, including: sexual abuse survivors; concerned friends, family and members of the public; and helping professionals.

The service is available 24 hours to anyone needing help with sexual abuse issues and is well used by the community. In 2009 over 10,000 calls were made to the support line. Staffed by qualified professionals who are trained to recognise when someone is at risk, and to manage trauma symptoms, the 24-hour crisis line has been operating for 27 years.

The funding covers the deficit resulting from the cancellation of a contract with ACC for the Auckland telephone support service. Money from several government agencies has been combined to provide funding sufficient to maintain the service in its current format for 2010.

Kate Brady Kean, the foundation’s Crisis Services Manager, said: “With the Christmas and New Year season approaching it’s great to know we can keep offering support to community members who contact us.”

“The summer season is a particularly high demand period, and the timely response from the Government means we can get on with providing essential care and advice to those in need.”

About the Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP foundation

The purpose of Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP is to support and empower women and children in their healing from the effects of sexual abuse/assault, and to work towards the prevention of sexual abuse/assault.

The foundation operates out of a base in Mount Eden and also provides in-person counselling services and a prevention programme for pre-schoolers in the Auckland area.

HELP provides essential services to the women, children and families of Auckland, Waitakere and the North Shore.

Background

Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP was set up in 1982 in response to concerns expressed by the then Auckland police surgeon regarding the effects of the medical forensic process on rape victims. A group of local professionals established a full-time ‘rape crisis’ service to ensure that 24-hour support was available to complainants of sexual violence.

The agency grew quickly as it became apparent that survivors needed more than just support at the time, they also needed follow-up counseling.

As the foundation’s specialist experience became established and recognised in the community, the number of survivors of childhood sexual abuse seeking professional help with recovery and healing consistently increased. These factors have driven the growth of the organisation.

Today, Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP is the biggest provider of sexual assault services in New Zealand.

ENDS

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