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Government underfunding of sexual violence prevention harms


A new report which explores the impact of government underfunding of sexual violence prevention and support services has just been released.

The report comes from campaigning organisation ActionStation, and calls for the government to “significantly increase” funding to sexual violence prevention, education, and survivor support in the forthcoming budget due for release in May.

The researchers analysed the financial reports of 38 sexual violence intervention agencies. The gap between government funding and the cost of running services was found to be $7,030,705.

“Limited, unstable and systemic underfunding means services are stretched, stressed and overrun,” says ActionStation director Laura O’Connell-Rapira.

“People who need help are being put on long waiting lists with support agencies left having to make hard choices about who to help first.”

"National Rape Crisis prioritises crisis situations, especially in families with children. Its waiting lists vary around the country; child victims of sexual assault may have to wait five months for therapy."

"Wellington HELP currently has a three-month wait for people seeking counselling, and can only afford to have one person working on its crisis line at night."

Sexual violence is estimated to cost New Zealanders $1.8 billion per year. Treasury has estimated that it is the most expensive of all crimes, “primarily reflecting the impact on victims.”

The other four recommendations in the report are for the government ensure:
1. All secondary, primary and ECE schools to become champions of healthy relationships and consent.
2. Nationwide coverage of Kaupapa Māori specialist services.
3. Culturally appropriate, rainbow specialist and accessible services available to all who need them.
4. More funding for self-referral services for people at risk of causing sexual harm, and those who have already harmed and want to change their behaviour.

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