NATIONAL COLLECTIVE of
INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S REFUGES INC.
MEDIA RELEASE – 22 OCTOBER 2009
ACC Changes Will Harm Women, Says Refuge
Women’s Refuge has joined a growing number of organisations expressing concern at ACC’s proposed changes to funding of counselling and therapy for sexual abuse survivors.
Heather Henare, Chief Executive of the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges, said “This is really an issue where we have to speak up and say that these changes will have serious unwanted impacts down the line.”
She said, “The National Council of Women has raised some important issues, pointing out that it is not just the funding cuts, but the processes that will be in place, that will create unnecessary trauma for those seeking to move forward from sexual abuse.”
“Victims of sexual abuse will be required to see three separate ACC therapists for diagnosis of mental illness before they can be eligible for possible support.”
Ms Henare said, “The effects of sexual abuse are ongoing and impact on every aspect of an individual’s life. They are not to blame for the sexual abuse. Why should they pay again and again for the consequences of a crime perpetrated against them?”
“Sexual abuse is often a factor in domestic violence and Women’s Refuge is well aware of its long-term damaging effects.”
“It makes sense to invest in supporting the healing of survivors and to have sensible systems in place to ensure that they receive the counselling they need. If we create barriers to access for these vital services we will surely be facing costs in other areas for failing to provide timely support.”
Women’s Refuge is New Zealand’s most significant family violence organisation, with a 35 year history of providing comprehensive services for women and children