Wellington Rape Crisis cuts services by 20 percent
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 12:07p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Wellington’s Rape Crisis centre is cutting its services by 20 percent due to a lack of funding, despite demand doubling in the last year.
The agency provides around 40 free counselling and support sessions for victims of rape and sexual abuse every week, costing $310,000 every year.
But a $55,000 shortfall means it will have to shut up shop on Fridays and leave clients with an answering machine when they call for help.
Wellington Rape Crisis agency manager Natalie Gousmett says turning people away is a last resort, but the lack of funds leaves them with no choice.
“It’s not much more that we need to stay open,” she says.
“The services we provide are important for our clients, their families and the community as a whole and are incredibly cost-effective.”
The Government currently provides around a quarter of their funding, but the rest has to be sourced from contestable funds like council grants and gaming charities.
Ms Gousmett says the sector has been under-funded for a very long time and the current funding model isn’t working.
“We have big costs like rent in the central city and they keep increasing, but our funding stays the same.”
Green Party MP Jan Logie says the Government needs to step up and fund the organisation properly.
“This Government seems to think [sexual abuse services] are optional, maybe because the stigma means a mass protest is unlikely,” says Ms Logie.
Demand for the service in Wellington has doubled over the last year, not because sexual crime is increasing but because people are reporting it more.
Ms Gousmett says a reduction in services will be discouraging for those in need of their services.
“New clients who are brave enough to contact us will contact us on a Friday and get a phone message that we are not open which is a bit of a barrier,” she says.
Since their plea went out, they have received more than $2000 in donations but small donations from the public, despite being welcome, are unlikely to be enough.
“We are looking for a large donor or a couple of trusts to come forward and help us out.”
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14/08/2012 4:46:06 p.m.
This is terrible. The government ought to be the ones funding this service.
14/08/2012 1:29:41 p.m.
Again this is just National cutting core services to the needy in order to give more to the wealthy.
National have an abysmal human rights record.
There philosophy for many decades has been... if you are rich you are worth saving... if you are damaged in anyway... we wont help and we dont want anything to do with you.
Nationals ultra elitism shining through again.
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