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ACC’s Cost Cutting for Sexual Abuse Victims


Media Release: 6 July 2009


ACC’s Cost Cutting for Sexual Abuse Victims “a Sick Joke”

Rape Crisis NZ estimates 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime, many before the age of 16. Statistics New Zealand figures show that about 3,700 sexual abuse cases were reported to the Police in 2008.

Last month ACC announced it is going to cut funding to the Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Line. This development prompted Access Support Services to request official information from ACC regarding its level of funding for injury prevention in relation to sexual abuse.

ACC has a statutory obligation under the current legislation to both minimise the overall incident of injury in the community, and the impact of injury on the community. In fact, the legislation describes this obligation as an overriding goal.

ACC has now responded to our request and provided its spend on injury prevention in relation to sexual abuse for the past five years. The amounts are as follows:

2004/05 $35,000
2005/06 $35,050
2006/07 $169,801
2007/08 $154,250
2008/09 $27,500 (Forecast)

The reduced level of funding begs the question - is ACC attempting to minimise the overall incident of injury in the community, and the impact of injury on the community, or, is it preventing sexual abuse victims from claiming their rightful entitlements due to a lack of awareness and support?

“When I saw these figures I thought it was a sick joke” said Mr Wadsworth, Principal of Access Support Services. “How is $27,500 going to make any impression on prevention of injury in relation to sexual abuse?”

New Zealand needs adequate funding for organisations like Rape Crisis. It is our position ACC should be funding a nationwide awareness campaign along the lines of the ‘It’s not OK’ campaign.

“The lack of funding by ACC only serves to reinforce the hidden nature of sexual abuse and it is time to bring this issue out into the open.” says Mr Wadsworth.

Access Support Services calls on Dr Smith, Minister for ACC, and his Associate Minister, Pansy Wong, to ensure the ACC provides sufficient funding in this area. Cutting costs though reduced funding of injury prevention is extremely short-sighted and failing some of the most vulnerable people in the community, the sort of people Prime Minister John Key had vowed to protect prior to the last election.

Access Support Services provides a nationwide advocacy service to ACC claimants

ENDS.

References:
• Rape Crisis estimates: http://www.rapecrisis.org.nz/
• Statistic NZ: Reported cases.
• Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 2001 (Section 3 “Purpose”)
• Official Information from ACC dated 30 June 2009 (available from Access Support Services on request).

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