Specialist psycho-social support to be trialled for sexual violence court cases

A gavel.
A gavel. Photo credit: Getty

A support group is backing a new service to help reduce trauma for sexual violence survivors.

The pilot programme, announced by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni on Monday, will offer sexual violence survivors psycho-social support from Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation (HELP) as they move through the court system.

It is being trialled for a year in Auckland.

HELP Executive Director Kathryn McPhillips said people entering the justice system often feel re-victimised and the programme will help people deal with those feelings.

"Primarily it helps people learn to manage what's going to happen to them in that process," she told Newshub.

Ms McPhillips believes the programme will make a difference and could lead to more convictions in sexual violence cases.

"The right kind of support provided to survivors can mean that conviction rate rises," she said.

The full results of the programme won't be released until June 30, 2019, but Ms McPhillips believes there will be positive outcomes.

"We're really looking forward to this being evaluated because that gives the opportunity for hard evidence to show the effectiveness of the programme."


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