08 March 2019
Billboard at parliament International Women’s Day breakfast calls Grant Robertson to fully fund sexual violence prevention and support services in Budget 2019
Image credit: Victor Komarovsky
A billboard has been placed outside the International Women’s Day breakfast at parliament this morning calling for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to “Tell Grant [Robertson] to fully fund sexual violence prevention and support services in Budget 2019.”
The billboard is signed on behalf of 13,860 people who have signed petitions that support full funding for specialist sexual violence prevention and support services.
The Prime Minister and Minister for Women were keynote speakers at the breakfast.
International Women’s Day and the billboard action coincide with Budget negotiations currently underway.
ActionStation, Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, and the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network are together calling for funding urgently needed in this Budget.
Wellington Rape Crisis Agency Manager Kyla Rayner says the severity of underfunding is significant.
“Sexual violence agencies in Aotearoa do not receive appropriate Government funding to deliver crucial services to survivors of sexual violence. Wellington Rape Crisis receives 50-60% of its operating costs from Government contracts meaning we must dedicate additional time, resources and energy into making up this financial shortfall.”
“Inadequate funding has real impacts on the lives of survivors. It can take courage to seek support, and many are left spending months on waitlists for counselling as we struggle to meet the demand for our services.”
“International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate all the achievements made by incredible women and provides a space to look to the challenges women still face in 2019. Sexual violence remains high on this this list, and we must address the disproportionate rate at which women experience sexual violence and provide the right support at the right time.”
“We cannot do this without a real and meaningful investment from our Government – a commitment to a gender equal New Zealand must also be a commitment to ending sexual violence and the harm it causes.”
General Manager of the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network Fiona McNamara says only a tiny portion of government funding is allocated to prevention.
“If prevention services were adequately funded, healthy relationships would become the norm, harmful attitudes and behaviours would be challenged and a culture of consent and respect for all people could thrive. All sexual violence is preventable. ”
“Specialist sexual violence prevention services are underfunded and healthy relationships education is available inconsistently. In schools services are funded for the time it takes to deliver a lesson but not for the work that surrounds it, including supporting students who disclose their experience of harm and upskilling teachers to have conversations with students and to provide support.”
“There are few specialist programmes outside of schools that are funded, so in workplaces and community groups, education is usually only available to those able to pay a fee.”
“In a society where the idea of putting all your staff or community through a sexual harassment prevention or respect programme is a confronting ask, it is important to make these programme as accessible as possible and for Government to support them financially to show their value and need.”
976 ActionStation members took part in a survey to choose an action that would help put a spotlight on this issue for International Women’s Day. 126 people donated to make it happen with an average donation of $20.79.