A review of new rules for sexual abuse counselling has come too late to save a South Auckland mother who died four days after her claim for ACC-funded counselling was rejected.Click through for the whole article.
Counselling Services Centre manager Emma Castle said the mother-of-three's claim for counselling for sexual abuse she had suffered as a child was rejected by ACC two months ago on the grounds that she had not suffered "a significant mental injury".
"The counsellor who submitted the claim made it very clear that sexual abuse was the reason why she had suicidal ideation and was self-harming," Ms Castle said. "It took them six months to make that decision. Four days after receiving notification that the ACC claim was denied, the client passed away."
...[Speaking on the issue of the panel announced to review the policy] "None of our specialist experts that work day to day with survivors of sexual violence, and have done for decades, have been chosen to be part of this review," Dr McGregor [Head of Rape Prevention Education aka Rape Crisis] said.
She said the rules had caused a virtual "collapse" of sexual abuse counselling, with cases approved by ACC down from 472 in the first two months of last year to just 32 in the same period this year.
The Association of Counsellors' representative on the ACC's sensitive claims advisory group, Elayne Johnston, said a 15-year-old girl who was raped over Christmas had still not received counselling because ACC required her to be assessed by a psychologist to see whether she had suffered a "mental injury".
Dr McGregor said almost all of the 600 to 700 private counsellors who were registered for ACC-funded work had stopped taking applicants for ACC subsidies since the new rules took effect because of an ethical objection to labelling assault victims as mentally ill.
Survivors were now going to rape crisis agencies instead, but the agencies could not cope because they had also lost funding...
This whole thing just makes me so sad. The sector warned the Minister that this would happen if he changed the rules in this way. He did it anyway. And now that it's happening, with real consequences for real people in awful situations, he's announced a review that doesn't include anyone from the frontline. This is starting to be a standard MO for this Govt. It reminds me of the 1990s when anyone who was an expert or practitioner in X was written off as having a vested interest in X and therefore their views were biased and not worth consideration.