News » ACC – Only 127 Sexual Abuse Claims

Press Release – 21 July 2009:   On Monday, TV 3’s 60 minutes programme exposed 500 cases of alleged abuse, including sexual abuse, at children’s homes run by the former Department of Social Welfare. The lawyer representing these complainants said she felt it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In the 2007/08 year ACC accepted 127 claims for personal injury caused by sexual abuse. In the same year the NZ Police received 3,700 sexual abuse complaints and Rape Crisis dealt with about ten times this number of enquiries.

So why are so few sexual abuse claims being lodged with ACC and how many of these types of claims should there be?

“That is very difficult to determine but I would have it expected it to be at least ten times this amount” says Mr Wadsworth, Principal of Access Support Services. “What we do know is 127 sexual abuse claims in a year isn’t consistent with the number of victims other organisations deal with.”

Last month ACC revealed it would no longer fund the Auckland Sexual Abuse Help-Line. This month ACC released information to Access Support Services that this year its funding for injury prevention in relation to sexual abuse is forecasted to be a paltry $27,500.

“It appears the lack of adequate funding is effectively suppressing the number of injury claims ACC receives for sexual abuse” comments Mr Wadsworth. “In my opinion, ACC is failing to fulfil its statutory obligations and, by default, failing the most vulnerable in society.”

Access Support Services wants the Government and ACC to increase funding to front-line organisations such as help-lines and Rape Crisis. In addition to this, ACC should fund a nationwide awareness campaign along the lines of the recent “It’s Not OK” anti-violence campaign.

“It is time for ACC to step up to the plate and be counted” says Mr Wadsworth. “ACC needs to show it has the same courage as the three victims showed by appearing on the 60 minutes programme.”

Ref: Injury Statistics for Sensitive Claims – www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/statistics/acc-injury-statistics-2008/13-sensitive-claims/IS0800236

(Access Support Services is a private organisation providing advocacy services for ACC claimants.)

03 548 6962 or 09 281 4558

enquiries@accesssupport.co.nz

PO Box 9058, Nelson