A vital anti-family violence organisation in south and central Taranaki is cutting back its hours in an effort to stay afloat.
Yesterday, HRC Family Counselling Services announced it could no longer afford to offer some of its services.
Police call the cut-backs disastrous and say it puts family violence prevention on the back foot.
One of the biggest areas to be cut will be the highly successful "Poll 400" project, which aimed to follow up on every case of domestic violence.
HRC trust chairman Steve Robson said it wasn't an easy choice but it was one that had to be made in order to stay around for years to come.
He said the cuts stretched right across all services, which included its safe house, counselling and anger management courses.
Mr Robson said instead of helping everyone who walked through the door, the service would now see a certain number of people each month.
A few people may be turned away, he said.
"We have some really good services, and we're providing them with some highly skilled staff, but we're not getting the remuneration from the other side.
"We have to push back on our funders and say enough is enough," he said.
"It tears [the board] because we know the statistics but we have to be the ones that say no."
Mr Robson couldn't rule out further cuts next year.
The squeeze follows news the organisation had already axed 18 client hours a week and closed its doors on Fridays in an effort to save money.
Rural Taranaki family violence prevention co-ordinator Sergeant Phil Taikato fears the cuts will cause victims and offenders to fall through the cracks.
Mr Taikato said the knock-on effect would be "disastrous".
He said the highly successful Poll 400 project, which was launched in January, was the biggest loss.
However, HRC is only funded for 190 family visits a year. In the past 10 months its staff have visited 446.
The project will be wound up in two weeks.
He said it was up to the public to stand by the organisation and realise just how important it was.
"If we don't get into these families now with the appropriate support, assistance and counselling we are going to have re-occurring youth coming to our attention," Mr Taikato said.
HRC manager Pam Bassett said the prospect of turning people away was gut-wrenching.
"On every single thing we do we over-provide.
"We just can't do it anymore."
She said it was frustrating to know they were making a difference but that the money didn't follow.
Many of her staff had offered to do more volunteer hours to cover the increased workload but accepted that was unrealistic, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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