Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

22:33, Aug 13 2012
Natalie Gousmett
FINANCIAL CRISIS: Wellington Rape Crisis agency manager Natalie Gousmett collecting for the agency last year.

Wellington Rape Crisis is being forced to cut services by 20 per cent because of a funding shortage.

The cash-strapped agency, which has been operating for 35 years, has seen demand double over the last year but has fallen $55,000 short of breaking even in this financial year. The centre will be closing its doors one day a week from now on as an alternative to making staff redundant.

Manager Natalie Gousmett said the centre received money from a number of sources including the Government, the City Council, lotteries grants, trusts and fundraising appeals but it hadn't been enough.

''The demand for our services is continuing to increase and the costs for our services has continued to go up. Rent costs more, salaries cost more, power costs more and the funding environment is competitive.''

Ms Gousmett said staff at the centre had seen their hours cut and had their pay frozen.

The centre was in talks to collaborate services with other agencies in the next year to create a long-term sustainable approach to keeping the service going.


Green Party women's affairs spokeswoman  Jan Logie said in a statement the Government needed to step in to protect the centre.

''Sexual abuse support and counselling are essential services because sexual violence is such a big problem in New Zealand. Counselling and support services are vital to healing and recovery from sexual abuse."

She said the funding increases had been recommended for services like Wellington Rape Crisis in the 2009 Taskforce for Action Report on Sexual Violence but that funding never happened.

Wellington Rape Crisis had almost one thousand client contacts last year with 179 clients accessing the centre for support on a weekly basis.

The centre is calling on the community and any private funders to support it by making donations.

Contact Shabnam Dastgheib
Email: shabnam.dastgheib@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @shab_d

The Dominion Post