Whangārei Rape Crisis is dealing with a higher than usual number of historic sexual abuse cases since the #MeToo movement encouraged women to speak out.
Unlike the international celebrities going public about their experiences, women going to the rape crisis (WRC) service to get support in dealing with past or ongoing abuse are guaranteed confidentiality.
''We've had a massive increase in historic cases,'' co-ordinator Desiree Wikaira said. ''We are struggling.''
That is not to say the trained support workers and volunteers are struggling to do the job, but the WRC struggles to meet all its financial requirements.
The Ministry of Social Development funds the service to the tune of 60 per cent of its annual costs but the rest - administration, rent, materials, some operating costs - has to be found, usually by fundraising and donations.
On Saturday WRC will hold a fundraising lunch to which anyone is welcome, at A'Fare in Whangārei. The $45 per person lunch will be followed by a silent auction of goods supplied by local businesses.
Volunteer Maria Vuletich said WRC hopes to get support through the event from Whangārei service groups, schools and organisations who have been notified about it. Members of the public, past clients and anyone else keen to show their support are welcome.
Despite the higher number this year, the majority of WRC's clients have always come about historic incidents, Wikaira said.
Support workers also work with immediate victims of rape or violation. Clients ''walk in'' or phone, or are referred by medics, police or other services. At times it is not the victim but a woman near to her who might need help dealing with their close one's trauma.
WRC in turn needs support to continue its services, which include trained support workers working with a client in a counselling capacity, and someone being on hand at meetings, police interviews, medical examinations and court hearings if that's what a client wants. Most do not seek police or court action.
Apart from the fulltime co-ordinator role and support workers being paid for the hours they put in, the bi-cultural collective stays afloat because of its volunteers, Wikaira said.
WRC is planning to hold a training programme early next year, and would like to hear from interested prospective volunteers.
''Before they start, every volunteer who works here in any capacity has to go through our training programme, which is the national Rape Crisis training."
The fundraising lunch is on at A'Fare next Saturday, November 17, at 1pm. Catering numbers need to be confirmed on Wednesday so for tickets, contact Maria on 027 289 0118 or Whangarei Rape Crisis 09 438 6221.