I heard last night the new restrictions to ACC funding may mean that sexual abuse counselling/crisis services may have to close.
Already the community voice for the survivors of sexual abuse, many of whom do not wish to identify themselves, is severely undermined by the overwork and under funding of these groups.
If these services close it will be much harder for men and women and children who have been sexually abused to access support and counselling. The voice standing up for and promoting the necessary changes for victims/survivors will be severely weakened. This is something we need to fight against.
If you don’t think someone close to you has been sexually abused, the chances are it’s because of the shame that is still wrongly associated with being a victim rather than none of them having been abused.
A 2007 international survey on sexual violence showed that one in four New Zealand girls is sexually abused before the age of 15, the highest rate of any country examined. It also showed that Maori girls were twice as likely as their Pakeha peers to be sexually abused. One in six men are also likely to have been sexually abused.
I mentioned the changes to ACC to a family member this weekend past and they hadn’t even heard of these changes. We need to keep talking and speaking up for a just and accessible services.
I am heartened to see NCW actively engaging in this struggle: http://www.ncwnz.org.nz/acc-changes-to-sexual-abuse-counselling/
I hope more groups and individuals manage to put it on their agendas.