9 Dec 2009

Counsellors fear for suicide rates after ACC cuts

9:45 pm on 9 December 2009

The Association of Counsellors is worried suicide rates may rise among sexual abuse victims refused ACC-funded counselling because of cutbacks.

Anonymous details released of 54 cases show longer delays and more rejections since new rules, known as the Sensitive Claims Pathway, took effect in October.

The association's Elayne Johnson says either fewer people are coming forward, or more are being turned down and living with unresolved sexual abuse issues.

She says in one case a woman who was raped in a mental health institution was turned down for counselling, because she had a pre-existing condition.

Ms Johnson says victims of physical and emotional trauma should not have to go through the mental health process to get help.

The National Council of Women says Maori victims of sex abuse are losing out because of the changes.

Executive officer Lynda Ripia told Waatea News the Sensitive Claims Pathway is causing delays in treating victims of rape or whanau sexual abuse.

She says Maori women make up a large number of those affected.