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Tuesday, October 20

ACC cutbacks to sexual abuse counselling spark fight backp

New Zealanders today began their fight back against uncaring cutbacks to counselling services for victims of sexual abuse Labour’s Victims Rights Spokesperson Lynne Pillay said.

"Thousands of people from around the country today protested at the cutbacks that have seen delays in the ability of people to access counselling, reductions in eligibility and cut backs to services,” Lynne Pillay said.

“Victims of molestation, rape and sexual assault have suffered enough, they should not be forced to endure an uncaring National Party philosophy on ACC entitlements in addition to what they have already been through.

“National campaigned in the lead-up to the election that it cared about victims of crime, yet its actions in denying victims of sexual assault counselling are uncaring and simply re-victimise those who have suffered.

“Labour is opposed to these cutbacks that attack the vulnerable for the sake of petty cost cutting.

“ACC Minister Nick Smith has repeatedly and cynically tried to mislead the public on this issue, claiming clinicians continue make the decisions on counselling.

“What he has repeatedly failed to mention that decisions on the length of counselling needed are not being made by those counsellors who are in contact with victims, they are being made by people sitting in Wellington who have never even met the victims, who have placed their trust in ACC.

“Nick Smith’s handling of his ACC portfolio can only be described as shambolic, uncaring and incompetent and sadly it is some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable who are suffering as a result.

“New Zealanders have had enough and are clearly rejecting the changes being made by Nick Smith, we can only hope he listens,” Lynne Pillay said