Sexual violence counselling costs to be fully covered by ACC
Thu 01 May 2014
ACC has announced it will provide full funding for survivors of sexual violence to access counselling as part of an overhaul of the sensitive ...
ACC has announced it will provide full funding for survivors of sexual violence to access counselling as part of an overhaul of the sensitive claims system.
The changes follow a highly critical independent review in 2010 and six month and 18 month follow-up reports. The new sensitive claims system will be more flexible, taking into account the sensitivity, length of time and cost of addressing trauma related to sexual violence. Under the new system, ACC will:
- Fund access to 48 therapy sessions over 12 months;
- Provide the full cost of counselling sessions;
- Allow claimants to 'shop around' for a therapist of their choice;
- Provide therapists with travel funding to allow them to travel to people in isolated regions;
- Support the inclusion of family members and support people during the recovery process where appropriate.
ACC Strategy Manager for Sexual Violence, Emma Powell, said "We are no longer going to be approving 10 counselling sessions here, or 10 there, we are actually saying 'Here's 12 months, you and your therapists ... build a programme around the person's needs ... and that's about providing a much more holistic approach ... We're throwing away the calendar and throwing away the clock and just letting people focus on getting better."
At present, ACC funds counselling for sexual violence survivors but it is capped at $80 per one-hour session. Counsellors often charge a "top-up" or additional fee of up to $90. Ms Powell said ACC was concerned that this cost was a barrier to access. Claimants were taking an average of 7.8 sessions despite being entitled to 16 sessions, or more depending on their circumstances.
The cost of the upgrade has not been made available but media reported it was expected to require a doubling of funding. ACC spent approximately $45 million on sensitive claims in 2012/13.
ACC is expecting a 10% increase in the number of sensitive claims per year until 2020, as awareness of sexual violence increases and the stigma of reporting is increasingly broken down.
Information on ACC's redesign of its sensitive claims service is available on the ACC website.