More rapes are being committed by more than one offender says an Auckland rape crisis service

“A disturbing trend we continue to see reflected in our statistics for Auckland are rapes that involve more than one perpetrator” says Kate Brady Kean, Crisis Services Manager for Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, which today released statistics for 2008.

And over 62% of Auckland rapes are happening in places where the survivors feel safe.

In the leadup to Rape Awareness Week (May 4-11), each year the Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation looks carefully at extensive stats collected from the prior year to establish what is actually happening with rape in Auckland.

Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation is a community organisation that provides essential crisis services to the Greater Auckland area. It has a 24/7 crisis counselling phoneline and provides specially trained counsellors to sit alongside victim/survivors during police statements and meetings and forensic and therapeutic medicals. All staff are qualified counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists who are specifically trained to work appropriately with trauma and sexual violence.

The organisation’s 2008 stats show that:
1. 50% of survivors are 15 – 24 years old – the distribution of offenders’ ages are consistently spread from 17 – 44. Young women are not necessarily at risk from those in their own age group.
2. More than 50% of offenders are strangers or not well know to the survivor.
3. At least 50% of survivors had no alcohol or drugs in their systems at the time of the assault.
4. Over 62% of assaults happened in places were the survivors felt were ‘safe places’ for them to be.
5. A continuing disturbing trend of more than one offender being present during an assault is highlighted in the stats.
6. 25% of callouts are missed due to a lack of staff and funding.

“Many of these findings directly challenge the rape myths so prevalent in our society” says Brady Kean.

In 2008, Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation sat with 400 victim/survivors during callouts and answered more than 8500 phone calls.

According to the most recent treasury report, the direct cost of sexual violence per offence is $72130 and the reported number of offences in this report was 3179.

This is a cost of almost $230 million per year. Assuming Auckland had a quarter of the population, that’s a direct cost to Auckland of $57 million.

“It’s important to ensuring that these social costs are minimised by education, working with offenders and most importantly providing effective intervention for survivors,” says Brady Kean.

“Research shows that specialised intervention from support services can reduce these costs. If we intervened and reduced just 20% of costs by getting survivors into a system that understood their needs and reduced the effects of sexual violence, we could, in effect, save $11 million a year. “

This does not take into consideration the ‘savings’ in relation to the survivor’s quality of life. Specialised intervention from support services can prevent survivors being misdiagnosed and sitting for years in a health system without correct diagnosis and treatment. (Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation has a wealth of research and case studies to support this.)

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0904/S00285.htm

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