Auckland rape crisis service wins new funding

Auckland's 24/7 sexual violence crisis line has had yet another last-minute reprieve after more than 15,000 people joined an online campaign on to save the vital service.

Backed by Shortland Street star Shavaughn Ruakere, the petition helped persuade the Government to announce today that it would provide funding to keep the 24/7 sexual violence crisis line open until until March.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett also announced that she would work towards finalising a three-year funding deal to secure the service's long-term future.

Former staffer Kirsty McCully has now twice successfully campaigned on to save the service. Last year, Kirsty's petition attracted 7000 signatures and sparked a social media campaign against Prime Minister John Key.

Kirsty re-opened her petition last month after it emerged that the Government was planning a backflip on last year's commitment to provide long-term funding. A further 8000 New Zealanders signed the petition, taking the tally to more than 15,000, and it was tabled in Parliament.

Kirsty said today she was delighted that the rape crisis centre had again been saved.

"The Government's backflip was a devastating blow to the centre and meant it would have cut the 24 hour service," said Kirsty.

"I wasn't confident that we could win a second time around, but there's no doubt that people power has prevailed.

"It's a fantastic win for the people of Auckland and means it will be able to continue to provide the professional counselling and support to rape and sexual violence survivors that it's been doing for 30 years."

- The Aucklander

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