The road-map to nowhere

Once upon a time, the New Zealand government received from ministries and experts in the sexual violence intervention sector what then Justice Minister Simon Power called:

“the most comprehensive roadmap on sexual violence prevention and services that any New Zealand government has ever received. There are no quick-fix solutions when it comes to sexual violence and the Government is grateful for the guidance this report provides.”

The Report for the Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence started life under the last Labour Government and revealed decades of under-funding of services for survivors, family/whanau, and those with sexually harmful behaviour.

The 2009 comprehensive roadmap called for “urgent and immediate” funding to ensure services in the community could continue, let alone develop. Did you know most crisis line services in Aotearoa are run by volunteers? And that many services have wait lists to see clients, just because there are not enough paid staff?

Most survivors cannot contain their needs to nine to five. Firstly because that’s not when most rapes happen. And secondly because it’s not when many survivors need to talk about flashbacks and terror, receive help to cope – that’s at night, or on the weekend, or when something reminds them of what happened to them, or when they feel unsafe.

At the moment one of the many marvellous helplines open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for survivors to call is Auckland Sexual Abuse Help. They run the only helpline in Auckland (there are others in South Auckland) which can respond if someone is raped and needs help going to the Police or medical services.

While Refuge services in Auckland are cutting back their hours because they are too poorly funded, it’s even worse at ASAH, which has been working with survivors for
29 years. In January 2012, unless some “urgent and immediate” funding materialises, ASAH will no longer be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can sign a petition asking the government to sort this out before Auckland survivors lose their only 24 hour resource. Or you could email the new Minister for Women’s Affairs, Jo Goodhew, and the new Minister of Justice, Judith Collins, or how about the seasoned Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennett.

Perhaps remind them of the comprehensive road-map, and the distance we still have to travel before our services responding to sexual violence are available to all who need them, whenever they need them. This will not be the only service closing, unless we start following that road-map pretty damn soon.

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