Rape support group struggles for finances

A lack of funding has left a southern rape and abuse support centre struggling to offer full services.

The Rape and Abuse Support Centre Southland offers sexual violence victims support, counselling information, advice and education.

However, centre education facilitator Natalie Bennie said while demand for services had doubled since last year, the centre was struggling financially and had been forced to limit some education and support services.

It did not have the capacity to provide a crisis line, and had also limited operating hours.

It was hoped a new campaign, being launched next week, would help encourage the Government to increase funding in the 2014 budget, she said.

The campaign, called Everyone Needs the Right Help, is being implemented by the Green Party.

Ms Bennie said every survivor of sexual violence was entitled to receive the support they needed.

"We need sexual violence services to get adequate long-term funding, so that every survivor of sexual violence can access the services they need, that suit them."

The campaign would reach out to individuals, communities and organisations to urge the Government to significantly increase funding.

Ms Bennie said one in four girls under the age of 18 in New Zealand experienced some sort of sexual violence but not all received the help they needed.

If the campaign was successful the centre could potentially help thousands of victims, she said.

The campaign will be launched by Green Party MP Jan Logie at the centre in Invercargill next Friday at 2pm and will be open to the public.

The Southland Times