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August 20, 2012 | by  | in News |
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The Money Is Gone

WELLINGTON RAPE CRISIS FORCED TO CUT SERVICES.

Wellington Rape Crisis will no longer be operating on Fridays due to a lack of funding.

The agency announced the 20 per cent service cutback last week, after 35 years of providing free counseling and support services to female survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

Demand for support services has doubled in the past year, but a shortage of funds saw the agency fall $55,000 short of breaking even this financial year.

Rape Crisis has chosen to close its doors one day a week as an alternative to making staff redundant.

Agency Manager Natalie Gousmett said that it is difficult to sustain a free, five-days-a- week service when the agency does not have the money to do so.

“Every year it’s a challenge to keep our service open and without any consistency and sustainable funding there’s so much uncertainty.”

“We are chronically underfunded,” Gousmett said.

The agency relies on funding from a variety of sources including the government, the

City Council, lotteries grants, trusts and fundraising appeals.

The Council has had less money available for grants since the recession and only recently learned of the difficulties faced by the agency, said Mark Farrar, of the Funding Division at Wellington City Council.

“We don’t want to lose an organisation like this and we have told Rape Crisis to apply for the next round of funding,” Farrar said.

Opposition MPs are calling on the Government to step in and ensure that Rape Crisis can provide its vital services to women in the community.

Labour Party Women’s Affairs Spokesperson Sue Moroney believes that women’s safety needs to be made a priority.

“Here we have an agency making a difference in women’s lives and yet it still struggles to secure funding.”

Alternatively, the ACC and the Ministry of Social Development offer counseling and support services for victims of sexual abuse.

However, the service provided by these agencies is limited due to their broad range of duties.

Last week, Hell Pizza was accused of downplaying the seriousness of sexual assault in one of its marketing campaigns, which publicised customers’ anonymous ‘confessions’ and rewarded the ‘best entries’ with prizes.

The entry in question was posted to the company’s Facebook page and treated as humorous the account of one man placing his penis into the mouth of a sleeping friend.

After calls for the company to make a donation, Rape Crisis accepted $10,000 from the fast food chain, with the condition that Hell senior management and staff attend sexual violence awareness training run by Rape Crisis.

Rape Crisis needs to raise the rest of the $55,000 before April 1 2013 in order to keep its doors open and is calling on the community and private benefactors to support it.

If you would like to make a donation to Wellington Rape Crisis, visit http://www.wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz 

 

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