Plea for $10m now to fight sex abuse

A sexual abuse prevention organisation has told the Government there is not enough funding to tackle sex abuse – and $10 million is needed now just to stabilise frontline services.

A parliamentary inquiry into the level of funding for victim support and offender treatment organisations has begun and will hear submissions from a dozen groups that work in the community.

Support groups for sexual abuse survivors say the sector is in crisis. There are fears some are shutting down and specialists in the field are leaving due to burn-out.

Rape Prevention Education executive director Kim McGregor told the Social Services select committee on Tuesday that organisations providing support for victims or treatment for offenders have been ignored by the Government for decades.

Ms McGregor said $10 million is needed to stabilise frontline services and called for a 10-year plan to be put in place with the aim of developing fully-funded services in the future.

A trustee for an Auckland sex abuse survivor group, Help, told the committee that funding for support is so low, they can’t meet the needs of all the city’s victims.

Debbie Hager said that although they have enough money to continue their work, they can’t employ enough staff to meet the needs of all the women and girls in Auckland who are raped or need complex support.

Green MP Jan Logie, who petitioned for the inquiry, said a recent survey of 22 support providers throughout New Zealand showed that over a third of them might cut staff.

Ms Logie said providers of therapy for offenders are also struggling, with some unable to treat people who voluntarily go to them for help.

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