ACC admits new guidelines introduced too quickly

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) says it may have moved too quickly in changing how it handles sexual abuse claims.

New guidelines for sexual abuse sufferers introduced by the Government last year legally require the ACC, when considering the cases of people who say they have been sexually abused, to concentrate only on those who have a diagnosed mental injury.

Official figures show that only 15.6% of claims for sexual abuse counselling – 178 out of 1137 – have been accepted since last October.

Labour’s victims rights spokesperson, Lynne Pillay, says the figure is alarming. She says the new assessment procedures actually make the situation worse for sexual abuse victims.

ACC’s general manager of claims management, Denise Cosgrove, says it might have moved a bit too quickly towards implementing the new approach.

Some gaps that might always have existed have been exposed, she says, but ACC is working with the sector and other agencies to try to develop ways of helping people in need.

Psychotherapists resistant

Nearly 90% of the members of the Psychotherapists Association have chosen not to do assessments under the new guidelines and are questioning whether they are ethical.

Northern branch co-convenor Kyle MacDonald says the process for having a sexual abuse claim accepted is far more rigorous now.

An independent clinical review of the sensitive claims system is due to be provided to the ACC Minister next month.

Listen to more from the report on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint:

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