I read on Voxy this week the sad plight of Wellington's Rape Crisis team.
They are facing such a shortage of funding from government that they are faced with the prospect of having to close their doors on Friday mornings. And, of course, rape and sexual violence occurs every day of the week and doors do need to be open when clients come calling for support.
I read that they need $55,000 a year (or some such figure) to stay viable. And this is under threat because of government funding cuts.
Of course, National should not have cut taxes for the rich as it did in 2010. I have said this many times. But their primary funding agency just doesn't have enough money in the coffers for this reason and they have had to advise Rape Crisis Wellington of the need to fund their services through other means.
Notwithstanding, I find it ironic that in the same week as this story appeared, the State (through Corrections) is preparing to use what I would guess is a considerable amount of its own very limited funding to house the Beast of Blenheim Stewart Murray Wilson in Wanganui. Of course, Wilson has to be released as the law says, even though I find this prospect (as do other people) appalling given the ongoing threat he presents. I appreciate that Corrections is trying to make the Wanganui community as safe from Wilson's depradations as possible. But I say again, the irony of the convicted rapist and sexual sadist Wilson's being released at a time when another government agency says it can't adequately fund an important sexual violence counselling service is deeply troubling.
That's why I believe that the Government has a moral duty to both fund Rape Crisis and other violence prevention services adequately, especially if one of its agencies is funding the re-housing of a recidivist violent sex offender at the same time. I don't believe that an extra few million on violence prevention services, like Rape Crisis or Women's Refuge, would go astray. Besides, these services gain a significant amount of their income from voluntary donations already and it must be remembered that the charity dollar is very stretched these days.
So, good luck to Wellington Rape Crisis who have been left to fend for themselves. I only hope that they and other crime prevention groups in our community get more than their fair share of state funding given that some recidivist offenders can get theirs.
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