Government heeds call to keep sexual abuse crisis line open
The Government has stepped forward to save a 24-hour crisis line that was facing drastic restructure if it couldn’t find funding before Christmas.
Minister for Social Development Paula Bennett met with staff from the Mt Eden-based Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP and agreed to an interim funding arrangement for the organisation.
‘‘I’ve heard their concerns and the Government is prepared to step in to keep the service running without interruption,’’ Ms Bennett says.
Contributions will be made by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and the police.
They have also committed to a sustainable three-year contract with negotiations to be finalised in April 2013.
The organisation had been desperately seeking $116,000 to keep the crisis line operating on a 24-hour basis after facing a funding shortfall in October.
More than 12,000 people had signed an online petition calling on the Government to stop the closure of the service and nearly 300 messages of appeal had appeared on Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye’s Facebook page.
Shortland Street star Shavaughn Ruakere also wrote an open letter to the prime minister in support of HELP.
Ms Ruakere was inspired to write the letter after her experience playing the victim of sexual abuse led her to speaking to staff at the organisation.
‘‘In the middle of the night when they feel like they can’t go on, this service can be the difference between life and death,’’ she wrote.