Tuesday, 29 September 2009

delays in access to counselling

for those interested in the issue around ACC funded counselling for sensitive claims (ie victims of sexual abuse), ACC is blaming staff pressures for the increase in the number of claims still waiting for a decision on funding:

...there were 420 sexual abuse claim decisions pending in August - up from a consistent average of less than 72 a month earlier this year.

...rising claim numbers have created added pressure and ‘as staff numbers are calculated on the previous year’s claims, this has put ACC staff under stress…In today’s financially constrained environment, it isn’t possible to simply recruit more staff. Our approach is to streamline the service

there was also an item on tvnz news tonight about the more stringent requirements to access the counselling, which i blogged about here.

it's appalling that access to crucial health services is being restricted by deliberate government policy.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I finally got my sexual abuse claim approved in late August after submitting it in mid-June.

Now I'm in the position where even though my claim has been processed and funding has been made available for up to a year, I am having a hard time finding a counsellor who both specializes in sexual abuse and will take on new ACC patients. Things weren't working out with the counsellor who did my initial assessment, so if I want to continue I need to find someone new.

ACC have stated in all their correspondence to me that if I have trouble finding a counsellor in my area, they can assist me. Well, when I rang for assistance I was informed that I should just use the list on their website and to "keep trying", which is of course what I've been doing all along. That was the extent of their help.

I guess they don't have the resources for follow-up either.

stargazer said...

that's appalling. i hope things work out for you soon. not sure where you are based, but you may be able to access some support from the auckland sexual abuse centre? feel free to email me at kiwistars at gmail dot com if you need any further help or support.

lex said...

Is anyone keen to take action on this?

Like maybe a march to a sit in in each major city (and smaller ones, if the support is strong enough). If everyone on the march who has experienced sexual assault in some form or another wore a certain colour or something, when the eye is cast across the crowd, it becomes ridiculously clear how rampant the problem is. May be difficult and tantamount to disclosure and a bit triggering for some, so may not be a good idea. But I just think of a news image of a crowd where like 75% are wearing red, signifying how often this stuff occurs and the degree to which women already have to 'just get on with it' and how much resistance there is to this foul policy.

A coordinated nationwide effort that is as inclusive as possible, in order to attract many people (women and femmen) and garner a sizeable crowd would be mean. I know there are many differences of thought within the fem camps, but I'm pretty sure this is an issue that everyone can more or less agree on, so rounding up all of our fem resources (mums, sisters, friends, anarcho-groups, feminist organisations, women's centres, abuse specialists etc etc) would have the potential to make a powerful statement.

Next Friday lunchtime? I'm not sure of the rules governing crowd amassment and protest marches (police, traffic the other practical considerations)and how quickly it is possible to organise something like this.. but I think a demonstration of resistance is well overdue.

steven seamore said...

"Now I'm in the position where even though my claim has been processed and funding has been made available for up to a year, I am having a hard time finding a counsellor who both specializes in sexual abuse and will take on new ACC patients. Things weren't working out with the counsellor who did my initial assessment, so if I want to continue I need to find someone new."

Anon, same here, but three years ago. So nothings changed. For me, the ACC claim was the easy part. It was negotiating the list that left me worse for ware. Most of the messages I left on the answer phones of practitioners from the list where never answered.

I eventually accessed appropriate therapy from Community mental health. That of corse required the diagnosis of Complex PTSD. I have no problem with having being diagnosed with that,other than when people say, how'd you get that. Complex PTSD is a useful diagnosis for me. Its treatable and there are good structured therapeutic processes, that have been well researched. I feel more comfortable with that than just winging it with a psychotherapist thats got a twenty year old diploma from Australia, as was my experience of an ACC approved psychotherapist.

Thats my experience, its very hard work, but worth it.

Anon, please perceiver, we need you on board.

And one last comment, when we talk about sexual abuse, can we please stop doing this: women (and men) hers (and his) I am not an honorary women! The sexual abuse I experienced as a child, was at the hard core end of the spectrum. I don't feel comfortable about being tacked on as an after thought. Altho I do paradoxically, appreciate the acknowledgment. Its just one of those things to think about.

Regards Steven