Joint media release
Wellington’s key survivor agencies, Wellington Rape Crisis and Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation, have responded to Paula Bennett’s announcement today that the Sexual Violence Sector will receive a $10.4million dollar boost over the next two years, aimed at providing stability to the sector.
Wellington Rape Crisis Agency Manager Eleanor Butterworth says, “We are heartened by Minister Bennett’s announcement today, and applaud the Government’s decision to focus on frontline services for survivors right now, and plan for prevention to be addressed in the longer term.”
The announcement comes as the Parliamentary Inquiry into funding for the sexual violence sector continues. The Inquiry has heard a consistent voice from survivors, academics and agencies working with both perpetrators and survivors that stability of funding to support specialist services is key to addressing the impacts and reducing the incidence of sexual violence in NZ.
Butterworth adds the caution that “while $10.4million is a great starting point, and the plan to roll out funding in a timely way will be great for the sector, the Government needs to be committed to reassessing the actual costs over time and adjusting this amount where necessary.”
Help Foundation Manager Helen Sullivan commented “In Wellington we have two key agencies providing support to survivors and their families, Wellington Rape Crisis and Wellington HELP foundation who also offers 24 hour crisis support in addition to the social work and counselling that both agencies provide. Supporting a range of agencies with different specialities to provide crisis and long term support for recent and historic abuse will be critical to this initiative being successful”
Sullivan says, “This funding is a great step forward and can’t come soon enough; our hope is the government is looking at the wider picture of supporting a range of sustainable services, that meet a variety of needs and allows us to plug some of the gaps where we currently have demand but no funding.”
Butterworth says both agencies “look forward to the ongoing commitment from the Government on this issue and hope this gives us the freedom to put our energy where it is most needed; into providing quality frontline social work, counselling and crisis support that aids the recovery of survivors and their families.”
Wellington Rape Crisis and the Wellington Sexual Abuse Help foundation provide free counselling and support to hundreds of survivors of rape and sexual abuse of their families and friends every year and runs rape prevention education programmes through the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network.