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March against ACC cuts

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, October 14th, 2009 - 5 comments
Categories: ACC, national/act government - Tags:

From October 27th, survivors of sexual violence will only be eligible for ACC funded counselling if they are first diagnosed with a mental illness.

Firstly, you don’t need to have a mental illness to need a few counselling sessions after going through a traumatic and disempowering experience. Why should a survivor miss out on services because he/she is not considered to be victimised enough?

Secondly, it shouldn’t be necessary to prove a mental state before being allowed access to services. Mental health diagnosis is not an exact science, particularly not with just the short sessions given for a psychiatric assessment. How many survivors will even feel comfortable talking about their abuse with a stranger from ACC whose only interest is seeing whether they have to fork out the cash?

Finally, the long-term effects of being diagnosed with a mental illness can be far reaching. There are many times in your life where you can be required to disclose such a diagnosis getting a mortgage, taking out a life insurance policy, even job interviews. Some counsellors are opposed to using psychiatric diagnosis in sexual violence cases because it can re-victimise survivors.

Dr Kim McGregor from the National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together has said the new procedure would allow ACC to check with survivors’ doctors and employers to assess whether their mental condition could be traced directly to the abuse. In other words ACC will be able to treat sexual violence the same way they treat a sore neck or any other injury. Blame the survivor if he/she has a history of mental illness.

Please join the national day of action against these cuts next Monday 19th October.

AUCKLAND: Meet at 12pm, Albert Park band rotunda, CBD.
WELLINGTON: Meet at 12.30pm, Cenotaph, Lambton Quay.
CHRISTCHURCH: Meet at 12.30pm, Speakers Corner, Cathedral Square (beside Chess Board)
DUNEDIN: Meet at 3pm, ACC offices, Corner Maclaggan & Clark Streets.

As Marty G blogged the other day, this is just the first of many cuts to come in ACC funding. So if you don’t care about the survivors of sexual violence – remember – First they came for…

5 comments on “March against ACC cuts ”

  1. How many women will actually get raped? How many of those women will actively seek counselling needing some kind of evaluation? I can tell you. Exactly Nil.

    So the whole exercise is just one of misogyny and power because it won’t save a fucking penny.

    Women who have been raped are notoriously passive and submissive. They have had their souls crushed and their dignity taken away. All they want is to hide. It is usually when things start to go wrong i.e. suicidal ideation and self harm that their GP will advise the seek counselling.

    By taking out the professional of the woman’s GP who after all knows her better than some person who has never seen her and inserting the opinion of someone (who needs to be paid too by the way) who has never seen the women before you open the door to the callous privatised US system.

    Well done New Zealand. Well fucking done.

    • Kevin Welsh 1.1

      Couldn’t have put it better Ev.

      I have a close friend who has been through the hell of being raped and then has to go through the assessment phase every 4-5 years to confirm that she is still affected by it.

      The only positive to her is her “blood money” that she receives as compensation, which she then spends on her kids.

    • QoT 1.2

      Women who have been raped are notoriously passive and submissive. They have had their souls crushed and their dignity taken away. All they want is to hide.

      I find this generalization frankly insulting to many women survivors of sexual abuse, and not particularly helpful either.

      The changes to ACC funding are obscene and sexist, but saying nothing will actually change because no survivors currently seek counselling and therapy? It would be nice to see some evidence of that together with the consigning of women to “passive” victimhood.

      • travellerev 1.2.1

        I apologise for the generalisation but I have had to help several girlfriends who had been raped and invariably I was the one who had to take the initiative to get them to go to the police, not take showers and help them through the initial stages of despair.

        I did not intend to suggest that no women looked for help but the amount that would out of their own accord would seek counselling would be so insignificant that the savings would be ludicrous. Let’s say (and correct me if I’m wrong) a 1000 women a year get raped (judging by the news papers that is grossly exaggerated but many rapes especially within a relationship will go unmentioned) and a 900 develop serious problems (90%) and need about 6 counselling sessions on average as is now possible without permission and those counselling sessions cost $ 100 per hour. What are we talking about here Oh Oops, $ 540.000 dollars a year. That, in my book, is fuck all.

        I say fuck rugby and let’s spend those millions on education and rape counselling and job creation.

        You get were I’m coming from?

  2. Brickley Paiste 2

    If Graeme’s reading, I’d be interested to know how a legal challenge to this decision might be mounted — or if one is being considered.

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