Contract for national sexual violence helpline awarded to Homecare Medical

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The contract to develop and operate a 24/7 national helpline for people affected by sexual violence has been awarded to Homecare Medical.

Homecare Medical is owned by ProCare and Pegasus Health. It runs the National Telehealth Service which provides a number of health and mental health helplines.

Justice Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley made the announcement:

“The Government is focused on developing a more sustainable and integrated national system to ensure victims of sexual violence get the support and services they need at the right time,” said Ms Adams.

“This free helpline will enable anyone who is affected by sexual violence to be given information, referred to local specialist services, and when required, provided with crisis counselling and support.”

“We want to better support victims of sexual violence through a long-term plan focusing on prevention,crisis and on-going support. It’s expected the helpline will initially provide support to around 10,000 victims a year,” said Mrs Tolley.

“The helpline will be rolled out in two phases with 24/7 phoneline services (including text/SMS and email) and a website available in December 2017, and online chat and social media services from March 2018.”

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is inviting people to a roadshow to hear more about the development of the helpline. The roadshow will be held in eight towns and cities around New Zealand between 1 and 20 September. For more details see the information from MSD.

The helpline is one of a number of initiatives under the work programme being led by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence.

Budget 2016 included $46 million to develop sexual violence services, including the helpline.

Currently, 24/7 sexual violence helplines and crisis lines are provided by specialist sexual violence services such as Rape Crisis. The Government opened a competitive tender process for the new helpline earlier in 2017.

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