Funding for sexual abuse helpline

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 16:23 07/12/2012
Paula Bennett
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
LIFELINE: Minister Paula Bennett has agreed to $286,000 funding for a sexual abuse helpline.

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Auckland's sexual abuse helpline has been thrown a funding lifeline.

Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett on Friday met with representatives from the Auckland Sexual Abuse Helpline and agreed to interim funding of $50,000 to tide the service over until April when negotiations for a three year contract will take place.

Funding of $286,000 had already been committed for the next 18 months.

The HELP service, which provides 24-hour crisis phone line and support, as well as information and counselling to women and children victims of sexual assault, had been considering restructuring and laying off staff if they had not received funding. 

The service, which receives about 12,000 calls a year or about 250 calls a week, was going to run out of money at the end of the year.

"I've heard their concerns and the Government is prepared to step in to keep the service running without interruption," Bennett said.

Ministers wanted to ensure that victims of sexual violence had a service that could be relied on, she said.

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