20 Aug 2009

ACC axe hangs over child sex abuse service

12:27 pm on 20 August 2009

Health professionals say a possible move by ACC to scrap a service for sexually abused children would be a huge mistake.

The parenting support pilot programme is designed to teach caregivers how to help a victim recover.

Patrick Kely, clinical director of the child protection team at Auckland's Starship Hospital, says the two-year pilot programme ended in June and faces an uncertain future.

Dr Kely says the programme came about after international research suggested counseling caregivers was often more beneficial than offering therapy to the young victims themselves.

The Accident Compensation Corporation says it is evaluating the scheme and has made no decision on its future.

ACC also wants to restrict counselling services for sexual abuse victims, according to the Association of Psychotherapists.

Proposed changes, due to be announced by ACC on Thursday, would place limits on the number of sessions available and require victims to tell their story to a series of people before their claim is accepted.

Association spokesperson Suzanne Johnson says the proposed changes would require victims to go through a series of ACC assessments.

The number of sessions would be limited to 16 before a person was reassessed.

Psychotherapists fear the proposed changes are an attempt to provide a one-size-fits-all treatment and may retraumatise victims.