ACC support for victims of sexual assault_Ending HIV_NZ_man talking to therapist

ACC Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault

ACC support for victims of sexual assault_Ending HIV_NZ_man talking to therapist

ACC Support for Survivors of Sexual Assault


Members of our queer whānau are statistically more likely to experience sexual assault than our non-queer counterparts. 

Many people aren't aware of the support pathways available to people in Aotearoa who have, or may have, experienced sexual assault - these pathways let Kiwis access help to recover and heal.

First up, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what the term ‘sexual assault’ means.

Sexual assault is often thought of as rape, and although rape is one very serious form of sexual assault, 'sexual assault' is a term that has a broader definition and can sometimes be hard to recognise. A helpful, concise definition from the New Zealand Police is that sexual assault is “any unwanted sexual contact against any person by any other person”. 

Sexual assault is “any unwanted sexual contact against any person by any other person”.

Hard conversations

Recently, my partner disclosed to me that he has been sexually assaulted.

At the forefront of our early conversations about this was the fact that he was only just realising what had actually happened, himself.

What he’d written off as a horrible hook up here, or a date he needed to escape there, were actually serious, traumatic experiences that deeply affected him. He’d spent years believing he was responsible for how these events played out. It was something he tried not to think about. Assault had even been frequent enough in his dating life that he believed it was normal.

Difficult to label

Sometimes sexual assault can be clearly identified and labeled. Other-times, there’s just a really horrible, icky, stressful feeling and you don’t know what to call it. If you’re feeling weird, stressed or upset about some of your past sexual experiences, accessing support could be very beneficial. 

Accessing ACC

In my partner’s case a key support pathway he accessed was funded therapy through ACC.

Therapy was something that we couldn’t afford ourselves, but we learned that ACC provides fully funded therapy for people who have been sexually assaulted.

Therapy was something that we couldn’t afford ourselves, but we learned that ACC provides fully funded therapy for people who have been sexually assaulted.

You don't have to be certain

Even if you don’t know for sure that you have experienced sexual assault, ACC can be accessed to help you figure it out.

This support is provided by ACC for anyone in New Zealand, including visitors, who have experienced sexual violence in New Zealand. They can also help if you’re a New Zealand resident who has experienced sexual violence while traveling overseas. It doesn’t matter if the event happened recently or a long time ago.

If you or someone you know would like to access this sort of free support, a good next step is checking out ACC’s Find Support website.

Once you’re connected to a therapist you’ll be provided with enough funded sessions for an assessment to be made, and this will give you an expert referral to whatever ongoing support your therapist recommends.

If you’re having trouble connecting with the right therapist, contact ACC directly and they’ll help you make an appointment. 

If you have a trusted GP, they can also provide you with information and refer you to the right places.

There are many other forms of support available too, like the Police, Sexual Health Services, text and telephone support lines, and support groups. Different things work for different people and different cases.

Therapy has been transformative for my partner, and it continues to support him in his journey of healing and recovery.

If you’re on a similar journey I urge you to consider accessing similar support. It can be a big thing to approach, but we all deserve care and we all have this support available to us.

A list of support services is below.

Keeping safe and asking for help

If you have had experiences that made you feel unsafe, or if you’ve been made do anything you didn’t want to – there are people you can talk to who will support you and help you contact authorities if necessary.

  • Talk to someone at your closest Sexual Health Service – they will have support pathways to help you, these differ from region to region
  • Safetotalk.nz – is Aotearoa’s 24/7 helpline for any kind of sexual harm. You can contact them in whatever way feels most comfortable – text, email, phone-call and more. Trained counsellors will be able to speak with you and help support you
  • If you feel comfortable speaking to the Police – there is a sexual assault unit that will be able to help you bring a complaint against someone who has harmed you. We understand that this is a big deal though, so we recommend talking to an organisation that can support you in contacting Police and help you through the process

The NZAF network

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