Māori health providers hope to see new funding allocated for sexual violence

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The government plans to invest $46mil over four years to prevent sexual violence and to better support victims. However, a Māori service provider has concerns.

Relief for service providers of victims of sexual abuse at today's announcement of $46mil to better support victims and to prevent sexual violence.

Ceo Kathryn McPhillips from HELP who offer support for sexual abuse survivors says, “This is great! There are gaps everywhere, so to fill some of these gaps is fantastic.  You know there's huge gaps in the harmful sexual behaviour sector, so it's great to see some money going there.”

However, some Māori providers hope the funding will reach those Māori who need it most.

“For the last 30 years up until now, I've worked in this field to help our tribes, sub-tribes, and families. However, there is no funding. We help them out of love for free,” says Te Owai Gemmell from Ngā Kaitiaki Mauri.

“Supporting the work that helps families who've been abused. However, I hope that regional services will receive the funding”, says Russell Smith from Korowai Tumanako.

According to research done in 2009, Māori are twice as likely to be sexually abused as non-Māori.

Ngā Kaitiaki Mauri are concerned that money wasn't earmarked for Māori.

Gemmell says, “How will the funding be used to help Māori families? Will it be based on Māori values? That's what we do, come from a Māori worldview and focus.”

Funding will go toward a new frontline crisis response for victims, and services for harmful sexual behaviour and male survivors of sexual abuse.

Over the next few months, the government will work with the sector to develop the new services.