Thousands contact national sexual harm helpline in first year

More than four and a half thousand people from around the country have contacted the national sexual harm helpline: Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora, by phone, webchat, text, or email, since the service became available a year ago.

“The Coalition Government is committed to building healthy and safe communities by reducing family and sexual violence. Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora is just one way we are supporting people affected by sexual harm,” Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora is delivered by trained counsellors. The service provides a free, 24-hour, confidential service to support anyone in New Zealand affected by sexual harm in anyway, including survivors, families and whānau of those affected, and perpetrators.

“Reaching out for support can be a daunting and uncomfortable process. One of the benefits of Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora is that people can remain completely anonymous.

“Having someone to talk to across multiple platforms, including phone, text, webchat and email increases the chances that people will reach out for help and support.

“People might be getting help for themselves or information on how to support others. Some might be concerned about their own thoughts or behaviour, while others are looking for general information and resources on sexual harm. 

“Historical sexual harm continues to be the main presenting issue and after the #MeToo movement, more people have felt comfortable reaching out for help and support, many have never accessed support before, including males, who make up 17 per cent of those receiving support,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

Safe to talk Kōrero mai ka ora has staff who can communicate with callers in Te Reo, Pacific and Asian languages, and also has interpreters available within minutes in over 40 other languages. People identifying as Māori make up almost a third of contacts.

The Ministry of Social Development funds Homecare Medical and works with New Zealand providers that support people affected by sexual violence to implement the helpline. 

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