ActionStation report long overdue for one victim

By Tema Hemi

The lack of support for Māori victims of sexual violence following an initial attack has been highlighted in a new report released by ActionStation today.  The report highlights the impact of government underfunding of sexual violence prevention and support services for New Zealanders, especially within the Māori sector. 

Marisa Matthews has carried the horror of her sexual violation since the beginning of this year and her personal journey to recovery has been challenging.    

"I was in a relationship with my partner, we were just arguing all the time, it was quiet volatile and then obviously drugs came into play and then following that, violence.  I came into the Women's Refuge with two black eyes, a broken nose," says Matthews.

She believes the new report,'For the Well-being of New Zealanders', launched today by ActionStation, is long overdue.

ActionStation director Laura O'Connell Rapira says, "We did an analysis of 38 different agencies' financial reports to find out how much they're currently funded for by government and what we found is that there is a $7 million gap every single year for those services."

O'Connell Rapira says the report highlights the fact that Māori health support services are not well supported by the government. 

"Specifically we want to make sure there are services available nationwide, for people who want access to kaupapa Māori services,"  Rapira says. 

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson strongly agrees with the report's findings.

"I was particularly pleased to hear about the lack of kaupapa Māori support services and that government needs to step up and support more and better services for Māori, culturally appropriate responses as well."

Matthews says, "I would have liked to have received a lot more support and, in terms of counseling, I didn't know which agencies to go for to look for counseling."

For this survivor, this marks the closing of a horrific chapter in her life...she's hoping that future victims are supported better.