on Sep 10, 20

Covid-19's toll on sexual violence survivors - and how you can help

HELP Auckland have been providing sexual abuse support services in Auckland for 38 years, and they have never encountered a roadblock like the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HELP team are passionate about doing everything they can to stop sexual violence, allowing survivors to reclaim their lives along the way. The work they do is so important; Ruth Davy from HELP says they are transforming lives through the support that they offer.

“We listen, we support, and we heal.”

Covid-19 has hugely impacted HELP’s ability to provide their services, with their overall loss of revenue around $46,000. This is due to fundraising events being cancelled and a major loss of grants.

Ruth says the lack of funds severely hinders HELP from providing women and children with face-to face therapy, training, services for schools, and so many more vital services. HELP currently has 32 women on their waiting list for therapy services, and cannot expand those services until more are funds available.

Ruth says that therapy helps to prevent the detrimental effects of sexual abuse, including mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency, and suicide. “Therapy is so important. We literally save women’s lives.”

Covid-19 has forced everyone to stay at home, but for some, home is not a safe place to be. Lockdowns foster a high-risk environment for sexual abuse. Many victims have been locked down with their abusers, and the added stress and uncertainty Covid-19 has created increases the likelihood of a violent environment.

A very worrying fact is that despite an increase in sexual abuse, many victims aren’t coming forward. Ruth says victims are less likely to reach out for help in the circumstances of a lockdown. This is because victims usually need to be in a secure environment, away from their abusers, in order for them to feel safe enough to reach out.

Ruth expects that demands for support will increase in the coming weeks and months as lockdowns restrictions lift and more people begin to seek help. As victims reach out, Ruth hopes that HELP will be able to provide women and children with the support that they need.

Without more donations, HELP will be unable to keep up with this expected increase in demand. By donating to HELP through The Good Registry’s Good Gift cards and Registries, your money can make a real difference for a sexual abuse survivor.

By swapping one $45 gift such as a scented candle, bottle of alcohol or cookbook with a donation to support HELP, you could fund a potentially life changing counselling session for a school student.

If you would like to know more about HELP Auckland and the services that they offer, check out their website. To access emergency support from HELP, click here.

 

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