Tuesday, 25 August 2009

more on ACC

thought i'd do an update on a couple of posts i've put up recently.

in amongst the buffoonery and jerking off at parliament today, there was this question:

Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: How will the proposed changes to the treatment of sensitive claims meet the legal requirements of the ACC scheme to provide “for a fair and sustainable scheme for managing personal injury that has, as its overriding goals, minimising both the overall incidence of injury in the community, and the impact of injury on the community”?

and related supplementaries, regarding changes to ACC funded counselling services for victims of sexual abuse. the minister's response was interesting, and i'll reproduce part of it here:

Hon PANSY WONG (Acting Minister for ACC) : ACC’s proposed changes to the treatment guidelines for mental injury resulting from sexual abuse are based on a comprehensive 5-year programme of clinical research commissioned by the corporation. The Massey University school of psychology undertook this research with a team comprising 23 researchers and an advisory committee of 13 people. A multi-method approach was taken, utilising quantitative and qualitative analysis, literature reviews, questionnaires, and focus groups. The research team included specialists in survivor advocacy, psychology, counselling, education, migrant resettlement, indigenous issues, and the mental health of children and older people.

the research report was tabled, but i don't know how to find tabled reports on-line yet. however, the reason i found the answer interesting was because i read luddite journo's post (hat tip: lew's excellent post at kiwipolitico) about one of the researchers funded by ACC. i don't want to reduce traffic to LJ's blog, so i suggest you read about it over there. i don't know that this particular researcher was one of the 23 that the minister refers to.

i'd also be interested in finding out if the report actually recommended that victims of sexual abuse see at least 3 different health professionals, or that an arbitrary cap be placed on funding for counselling services.

[ETA: toad has a great post about this issue here, with a link to the research report (pdf) the minister refers to.]

on the issue of pay equity between white women and women of colour, there has been some news about funding for wages to maori health providers being less than to non-maori providers. it's an issue that the nurses organisation has been trying to get addressed, but with little success so far. waatea news covered it this morning (morning report, radio nz, 8.48am, towards the end) and there is a post up at red alert about the issue as well.

and finally, nice to get a very brief but honourable mention by dennis welch in his run down of nz political blogs and their impact on the MSM this morning (nine to noon, radio nz, 11.50am).


Lew said...

Hi Anjum,

Thanks for the link back. The revictimisation problem is largely embedded in the proposed assessment process, referred to as the 'assessor-provider split'. A victim presents at a counsellor of their choice (1); is then assessed by a clinical psychologist (or sometimes plural) of ACC's choice (2), and if their claim is accepted, their continuing treatment is conducted by a counsellor of ACC's choice (3) which may not be the same as (1). A minimum of two professionals, only one of whom is chosen by the victim - who will tend to choose providers on the basis of gender or cultural or reputational factors, while ACC will not. This is an important part of the chilling effect: many towns around NZ have few male counsellors, for instance, or no Māori counsellors - and these factors can be a deal-breaker for victims who know that ACC may assign them to another provider if their case is accepted.

Happily, ACC seems to have backed away from the assessor-provider split, according to the Herald.

However this is only one troublesome aspect of the proposed reforms, and it seems likely they'll be much more stubborn on the others.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that most of ACC's counsellors only have a 6 month polytech qualification?
Make sure you ask for a proper qualified counsellor when seeking sexual abuse counselling.

Lew said...

With respect, Anonymous, you don't know what you're talking about. If you look a bit more closely at the professional bodies protesting this change (most notably the NZAP) then you'll find that they are significantly more qualified than that, many having decades of clinical experience in addition to formal qualifications and very stringent standards of qualification and conduct enforced by their associations.


Anonymous said...

I am thrilled to hear that sexual abuse victims are no longer going to be made to blurt out their full story to a stranger.

I have one friend who was very badly sexually abused as a child, and who only recently remembered some particularly traumatic incidents that she had blocked out. She has been terrified of being forced to tell her story to a stranger. She didn't think that she could do it.

It is ironic that women who are so traumatised by their abuse that they cannot bare to retell it all to a stranger would have missed out on funding for continued therapy.

It is also ironic that for many women, retelling their horrific stories to complete strangers could retraumatise them so much so that they could ultimately need more therapy than they would have otherwise.

Luddite Journo said...

Hey Stargazer, I don't know either if Dr Goodyear-Smith was involved with the Massey Guidelines. She wasn't one of the peer reviewers though. If you're interested in reading the document, it's here http://www.acc.co.nz/PRD_EXT_CSMP/groups/external_communications/documents/guide/prd_ctrb089532.pdf
I'm going to have a proper look at it in a blog post soon :-)