22 Oct 2013

SAFE sees rise in number of people seeking help

7:14 pm on 22 October 2013

The SAFE network, which provides treatment for sexual offenders, says there is an increase in the number of abuse perpetrators coming forward voluntarily.

Chief executive Jacqui Dillon made the comments on Tuesday at the launch of a website for people affected by sexual abuse.

Ms Dillon says in September 2012, there were 33 people in treatment after coming to the Safe Network, asking for help after sexually abusing someone.

However, she that figure had risen to 49 in September this year and the organisation even had to turn people away due to a lack of funded treatment places available.

Ms Dillon says it is now more acceptable to ask for help and the topic has been in the media spotlight.

"We're on the cusp of making a bit of a social shift around having the conversation. Certainly, some of the high-profile cases in some ways have contributed to that."

A new website called The Harbour brings together information from a range of support services and is aimed at victims of abuse, people worried about potential victims and those who have abused.

The website has been spearheaded by SAFE, the support service for sexual abuse survivors, HELP, and Rape Prevention Education.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett launched the site and said there is a myriad of information online - some of which isn't correct.

Mrs Bennett says as a result, some people aren't sure about where to go to get help, but the new portal provides the right information.