Protest over rape crisis cuts

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 12:19 28/11/2012

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Protesters will hit the streets of Auckland today to show their support for a rape crisis helpline facing a funding cut.

Auckland-based HELP 24-hour crisis line will have to cut services after the government funding offered was $116,000 less than it needed to operate.

The helpline for Auckland victims of sexual assault and rape is likely to be cut and HELP will be forced to lay off staff. 

HELP takes about 250 calls a week from victims of sexual assault and rape.

ACC previously funded the helpline, but cut finding in May 2009. 
Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children spokeswoman Leonie Morris said the cuts were "outrageous".

"For victims of sexual assault and rape, the potential to suffer devastating mental health consequences is very high and early intervention must be seen as a survivor's right. HELP provides this essential support.
"Some people call after they have just been raped, in the wee hours of the morning."
Yesterday social development minister Paula Bennett was reported as saying negotiations around funding were ongoing.

But Morris said negotiation has stopped with no contact from the ministry since November 19.
A protest will be held on the corner of Karangahape Rd and Ponsonby Rd at 5.30pm.

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