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Labour MP angry at Government's rape support claims

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Lynne Pillay
Lynne Pillay

Wellington, April 29 NZPA - Labour Party victims rights spokeswoman Lynne Pillay has taken issue with the Government's claims about efforts it is making to improve assistance to sexual abuse victims.

At a sexual abuse conference in Auckland today, Justice Minister Simon Power spoke about steps the Government was taking to give greater support to rape survivors.

He included providing small grants for clothing lost to forensic examination and a new court support service being rolled out from July 1.

By 2012 that would consist of 18 specialist victim advisors at courts across the country, Mr Power said.

The Government was also working through a taskforce report on prioritising efforts to improve sexual violence services to victims and long term investment in sexual violence prevention.

A response was being worked on with help from Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and her associate, Tariana Turia.

Ms Pillay said she was "horrified" to read that the Government was putting more support in place for rape victims when ACC Minister Nick Smith had reduced the amount of counselling available to them.

"(Dr Smith) is clearly attempting to cover-up his completely inept handling of sexual abuse guidelines if he is prepared to stoop so low as to allow his colleagues to mislead rape victims," she said.

She said the "vast majority" of rape or sexual abuse victims were being declined help from the Government.

Dr Smith said in Parliament today there was an aim to try and speed up claims being processed by victims, and improvements had already been made.

A review underway was expected to make significantly more progress on improving the situation.

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