Rape crisis centres will get a boost in funding in next
month's Budget, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has
The Government plans to invest $10.4 million into sexual
violence services over the next two years.
Mrs Bennett said the sector required extra resourcing,
especially for the availability of 24-hour crisis and
emergency counselling centres.
Wellington Rape Crisis was temporarily forced to cut its
hours from five days a week to four days a week last year,
and many centres say they have no funding security.
They have warned the Government about long waiting lists and
the absence of services in rural or provincial areas.
Government agencies are predicting a 10 per cent annual
increase in sexual abuse compensation claims in the next six
years - a trend which is believed to reflect increased
reporting, not increased abuse.
The funding boost included support for male victims, who make
up around a fifth of sexual abuse cases. The new money would
also cover medical and forensic services, and community-based
The Green Party's women's issues spokeswoman Jan Logie said
the funding increase was a "huge win" which would give the
sector some much-needed stability.
"Support services have been struggling for too long, having
to worry about whether they will be able to afford to open
their doors, so this long overdue funding is very welcome.
"While many services will still be operating on a shoe string
to meet the need in the community, at least they will finally
have the stability to focus on their work, not where the next
dollar will come from."
A parliamentary inquiry is currently reviewing specialist
sexual violence services following widespread concerns about
availability and funding.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald