ACC Changes Discriminate Against Māori Women

Published: Fri 11 Dec 2009 09:38 AM
ACC Changes Discriminate Against Māori Women, Says Women’s Refuge
Women’s Refuge supports the views of the National Council of Women, expressed this week in their media release outlining the discriminatory treatment of Māori women by ACC
“Although Māori women are most likely to be clients for ACC subsidised counselling, this has not been adequately considered in the implementation of the ACC Sensitive Claims clinical pathway,” says Denise Reynolds, Kaiwhakahaere for the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges.
Ms Reynolds says, “Although Māori kaupapa models for counselling may be in development, we are very concerned that Māori women’s needs have not been prioritised by ACC, when they are evidently in the highest risk group. Nor have Māori providers been adequately consulted and we agree with the National Council of Women, that communication must be opened up, as a matter of urgency.”
“Failure to consult with Māori on this issue, is in fact a breach of the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi as well as a breach of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to which New Zealand is a signatory.”
Heather Henare, Chief Executive for Women’s Refuge says, “Limiting accessibility to these services breaches other international obligations too, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women under which states are obliged to ensure women’s equality and guarantee a number of rights. I believe the state has a legal and moral duty to provide accessible, voluntary support services for women victims of sexual abuse.”
She says, “Sexual abuse is a form of violence. Some 80% of women who access Refuge services have a history of sexual abuse or rape.”

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