soon after the election, the new government decided to change the composition of the ACC board. we've got a different group of people deciding who gets money for health services, and it seems that their priorities are not around sexual health. we've had the cuts to the auckland sexual abuse help line. and now, there appears to be a move that will result in cuts to counselling services to victims of sexual violence and abuse:
Sean Manning, President-elect of the NZ Association of Psychotherapists, adds that “ACC is in the business of addressing the effects of trauma, but the proposed process where a victim of sexual abuse will have to tell their story to three people before getting help, will actually be damaging. If you want to put people off asking for help, this is a good way to do it. It is a shocking way to deliver a supposedly rehabilitative service.”
“Other than an implied criticism that there are clients who are receiving ‘too much’ counselling we have yet to hear clearly from ACC what it is they believe isn’t working under the current system. Instead we’re seeing a set of changes hurriedly imposed that we predict will impact negatively on clients who are already distressed by experiencing difficulties with getting cover, unreasonable delays and the impacts this has on safe practice,” says Adrienne Dale of the NZ Association of Counsellors.
it's well worth reading the full press release, as there are some major concerns raised in it. as with the closure of the pay equity unit, there has been no consultation regarding this change. there has been no opportunity to have a discussion about the impact of the new clinical framework; there appears to be no research or evidence on which the changes are based.
all of which makes me wonder, who in the current government is standing up for women? who is advocating for services that are of crucial importance to women? there appears to be a total vacuum. for all the cries there used to be of "nanny-state" in the previous 3 years, we now have silence when the government is actually behaving in a dictatorial manner that is detrimental to the well-being of its citizens.
one final point. it's hard to see this as anything but another move to prepare ACC for privatisation. which will make it even more difficult for victims of sexual violence and abuse to obtain the professional services they need, because private providers will expect you jump through even more hoops before they'll accept your claim.