'Safe to Talk' sexual harm and violence helpline launched nationwide

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A new helpline has been launched to support people affected by 'sexual harm' and sexual violence.

Safe to talk - He pai ki te kōrero launched nationwide on 16 April 2018. The helpline provides 24/7 access to free and confidential information and support by phone, text, email or online chat. People can get advice and support from trained specialists and be connected to support services in their community. The www.safetotalk.nz website also provides information and resources.

People can contact the helpline to get information and support for themselves, for someone else, or with general inquiries. Support is available in relation to someone having experienced sexual violence, or having harmed someone or having thoughts of harming someone.

Contact the helpline by:

Calling: 0800 044 334

Texting: 4334

Emailing: support@safetotalk.nz

Live webchat on www.safetotalk.nz

Radio NZ reported that Maggy Tai Rakena, manager of Christchurch-based social service START (supporting children, youth and adults and their families who have experienced sexual violence) highlighted the need to address ongoing workforce development needs in the specialist sector, to enable it to meet demand.

Background information

The contract to develop and operate the helpline was awarded to Homecare Medical following an open competitive tender process. Homecare Medical is a social enterprise which is owned by the primary health organisations ProCare and Pegasus Health. It runs the National Telehealth Service which delivers free health and mental health advice, support and information including Healthline, Need to talk? 1737, Quitline and other services.

The helpline was piloted in the Canterbury region earlier this year to test the helpline and referral pathways.

The helpline is a project of the joint working group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence Work Programme which includes the further development of sexual violence services. To stay up to date with this work, sign up to receive the MSD 'sexual harm' service development updates.