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Sexual Harm Crisis Support Services

The Ministry is committed to increasing national access to crisis support sexual harm services. Following Budget 2016, we were focussed on developing crisis support sexual harm services that are:

  • accessible and more readily available
  • responsive, evidence-based and in accordance with good practice
  • delivered by an appropriately skilled workforce
  • part of the wider service system responding to sexual violence
  • able to support a victim/survivors in a time of crisis
  • connected and enable increased access to follow-up response and long-term recovery services for continued recovery.

The additional funding through Budget 2019 will help to increase access to crisis support services by addressing the known cost pressures faced by providers delivering these services.

Find out more about funding for sexual violence services through Budget 2019

Work from Budget 16

In Budget 2016, $46m was allocated (over four years) for on-going stabilisation and an increase in sexual violence services. A key focus of this investment was to increase the provision of sexual harm crisis support services.

Following that announcement, the Ministry commenced work with the sector to develop the sexual harm crisis support services.

See the service development consultation document for a full overview of sector engagement and consultation used to develop sexual harm crisis support services.

See the service development consultation document

In July 2017 this service was rolled out, MSD offered 33 existing sexual violence providers who were delivering a crisis response service new multi-year contract from 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2020. Additionally, 19 identified geographical gaps in SHCSS were filled nationally, following two open procurement processes.

MSD is now contracting with 35 providers to deliver sexual harm crisis support services across New Zealand. The services that are being delivered include:

  • Advocacy and support (24/7) when and where possible A service for victims/survivors of sexual harm to support a person through any treatment or other processes immediately following an event. This might include police interviews, assessment and treatment services, forensic medical examinations, therapeutic medical examinations, follow-up medical examinations when requested.
  • Emergency face-to-face sessions (including crisis counselling) A service for victims/survivors of sexual harm, or those affected by sexual harm (including support networks) that provide crisis counselling, face-to-face support sessions, referral to counsellors and psychotherapists, assistance with informed decision making, arranging access to resources.
  • Crisis social work support A service for clients where social work support is provided during the crisis period, this can include assistance with Work and Income and accommodation, as well as consultations and liaisons re child safety and crisis support work.

How Budget 16 funding was allocated

A funding allocation model for sexual harm crisis support services was developed following Budget 2016 to ensure that there was a consistent and strategic approach to the distribution of funding across the country.

Service guidelines

Sexual Harm Crisis Support Service Guidelines were developed in 2017 following a consultation process with service providers. We are committed to continuous improvements and ensure the guidelines are reviewed to reflect that.

We surveyed contracted providers as part of the first review of the guidelines and have made some improvements as a result of the feedback. The changes to the guidelines took effect from 1 July 2018.

We have also developed a Reporting Guide to help providers collect accurate data about the provision of services. The guide breaks down the Result Measurements Framework (RMF) questions and provides clarity around what each question means.

Court support pilot

We have a pilot running to provide psycho-social support for survivors of sexual violence going through the criminal justice system.

This work aims to address a gap identified by the Law Commission’s 2015 report ‘The Justice Response to Victims of Sexual Violence.’

Through the pilot, survivors are being supported up to, during and after the criminal justice process.

Gap in sexual violence post-crisis care

A gap has been identified by providers in service provision for many victims/survivors of sexual violence after they have accessed crisis support services.

This gap was identified by providers through both Malatest International’s external evaluation, and our own consultation with several providers.

A common experience reported by providers was the requirement to ‘hold’ victims/survivors in their services until they reached independence, or until they can access support through the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims (funded by ACC) or another appropriate agency.

A key theme of post-crisis care and recovery is the need for time and resourcing for providers to:

  • work holistically with the victim/survivor to ensure practical needs are met e.g. financial support, housing, transport
  • advocate on behalf of victims/survivors and engage with other services e.g. Work and Income case managers, GPs, mental health
  • work with families,whānau and communities to educate and strengthen support networks around the victim/survivor.

Additionally, MSD’s Research and Evaluation team has completed a Rapid Evidence Review summarising the available evidence on the types of post-crisis care and recovery support services that are effective in helping survivors of sexual violence.

We will continue to explore this area further to better understand the support survivors need.