April 30, 2010

ACC might become MOD

Dear Jacquie,
Thanks very much for your email. There is some hope that the Ministry of Social Development will take over funding from ACC. I wrote the story below yesterday but there wasn't any room for it in the paper.
Simon Collins
Social Issues Reporter, New Zealand Herald

Other state agencies may pick up the cost of counselling for thousands of victims of sexual abuse who are now being turned away from the Accident Compensation 
Corporation (ACC). Justice Minister Simon Power says the Social Development Ministry will be asked to lead a project "to address the most effective way to deliver sexual violence services''.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett will lead a stock-take of existing state spending on sexual violence, look at the need for such services, identify opportunities for efficiencies and effectiveness, and consider " future funding options''.
Ms Bennett's office said officials were still consulting on the terms of reference for the project with ACC Minister Nick Smith, but victims turned away from ACC were "an area that will be looked at''.
Sexual abuse victims approved for ACC-funded counselling plunged from 472 in the first two months of last year to just 32 in the same months this year after the corporation tightened its criteria last October. 
ACC funding is now available only for victims with diagnosed mental conditions caused by the sexual abuse.
The co-chair of the national sexual violence network, Dr Kim McGregor, who introduced Mr Power at a sexual abuse symposium in Auckland yesterday, said she hoped the Government would look at filling the gap left by ACC urgently.
"The huge gap at the moment is the withdrawal of ACC funding for survivors of sexual violence. That has meant the support for survivors of sexual assault is on the verge of collapse,'' she said.
She said filling the gap would cost "millions''. 
ACC has spent just over $15 million on therapy for sexual abuse victims in each of the last three years and receives about 6000 new claims a year.
Dr Smith announced his own review of the new ACC rules on Monday. 
A four-member panel led by former Mental Health Commissioner Dr Barbara Disley is due to report to him by the end of July.
Mr Power said Ms Bennett would report to other ministers on other funding options by the end of the year.
Dr McGregor welcomed other announcements by Mr Power yesterday that the Justice and Social Development Ministries would provide ongoing funding for survivor advocate Louise Nicholas,whose job had been due to end in June, and that another $1 million would be found for sexual violence prevention programmes over the next two years by "reprioritising'' other spending. Auckland-based Rape Prevention Education's current budget is $700,000 a year.
Mr Power said his planned trip to Germany and Austria in June would look at whether their "inquisitorial'' justice systems worked better than New Zealand's adversarial system in sexual violence cases.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what kind of unthinkable atrocity one has to endure to be in the top criteria these days. I am constantly shaking my head in disbelief at all this political BS I am reading about lately. We all know money doesn't grow on trees and that the gummint can lose the stockpile easy as, but they could appear to be seen, to be concerned, about their voters well being.


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