Auckland’s only 24-hour crisis line for sexual assault victims immediate threat of closure – importance of collective action

but ‘defence’ spending against non-existent aggression ok

This blog’s earlier post on the importance of the issues of Reclaim the Night mentioned the increasing strain that New Zealand’s crisis services – which are particularly needed by women – are under.  It now seems that the government will close Auckland’s only 24-hour crisis line for sexual assault victims, auckland sexual abuse HELP, by failing to fund its ongoing operations.

This vital organisation has had to manage on short-term funding for the last few years, with the government failing to provide it the long-term funding necessary for it to function optimally. Now the funding has stopped.

Change.Org is hosting Kirsty McCully’s petition about this latest attack on women’s safety, which explains “Keeping this service open costs less than $400,000 a year. Surely the 10,000 women and children who access this service annually in Auckland are worth that”. Indeed!

Kirsty adds:
“Unless the NZ government does something urgently to provide proper funding to keep this service operating, it will close in January – less than a month from now, after 30 years providing professional counselling and support to rape and sexual violence survivors.”

Save the 24 hour crisis line – speak up in support of Help for sexual violence survivors. And join the Facebook group to help stop the closure:!/groups/300554253318529/

But hey, the government can’t spare the money, right??

I thought that by contrast it’d be good to look at New Zealand’s 2011/12 ‘Defence’ budget:

Yes, that’s right, that’s $3,398.40 million!!  When New Zealand requires no defence budget at all, since it faces no external aggression.  This is purely aggressive spending, at the cost of women’s lives.

Update Dec 15:  A rally to oppose this closure has been organised for Fri Dec 16 – 6.30pm, QEII Square, at the foot of Queen Street in Auckland.

Update Dec 20:  Another win for collective action.   Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Crisis Services Manager Iona Winters says that in response to the public campaign, they have received this government assurance:

“Agencies have committed to continuing funding for Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP for the first six months of 2012. Agencies are collectively committed to a process working with Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP over the next six months to ensure a sustainable service for the future.”

But she asks everyone to maintain the heat, to ensure that the government not only honours its promise of funding for the next 6 months, but also gives it the necessary long-term funding so the agency can function securely and plan ahead.