Warning: This article contains references to suicide.
A male sexual assault survivors' organisation says it's had to close the doors of two offices due to insufficient funding as demand for its counselling and peer support services skyrockets.
Mosaic chief executive Richard Jeffrey said the organisation has seen requests for its help grow by 280 per cent over the last few years.
As a result, he said it has had to shut its offices in Kapiti and Masterton because it no longer has the funding to operate them.
Funding from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has stagnated and the Wellington City Council chose not to give Mosaic funding this year.
And men are dying.
Peer service manager and counsellor Rob McGregor said one man he was in contact with took his life while waiting for services from Mosaic.
Three weeks is the minimum wait list time according to the organisation, and for some clients, that help may come too late.
Insufficient funding has meant that Mosaic's pockets are empty, so even though part-time workers would be available to work more hours, there isn't enough money for them to do so.
In 2018 they had 139 enquiries in total, and last year the organisation had 567 people reach out for help, 180 of those were people seeking ACC support.
Jeffrey said MSD funds most of the sexual assault work in Aotearoa that isn't covered by ACC.
He told the Herald despite their burgeoning client list, they're receiving the same funding as other organisations who get a fraction of the enquiries.
"We shouldn't have a waiting list. It's dangerous to have a waiting list in sexual violence, not just for males but right across the board.
"People are out there, sometimes harming themselves, sometimes killing themselves."
Wellington City Council grants committee chair Fleur Fitzsimons said the primary reason the Council did not support Mosaic in this round of funding was pressure on the grants fund.
She said the charity received a grant of $15,000 in 2020 as part of the city's Covid-19 response funding round and the council also makes a small contribution to its accommodation costs.
"Council will never be the only funder of these important services, central Government has an important role to play here, I'm aware MSD also funds this service which is important."
In 2019 the Government released a budget stating it would be significantly increasing the funding available for male survivors of sexual assault from around $1.5 million to about $3.5 million a year.
But since then the demand has kept growing at Mosaic, which has now stopped advertising its services because it is barely keeping up.
"Now the younger ones are coming forward, like teenagers, because they know there is a place to go, also younger people are more open to doing something about it. And police are more receptive," Jeffrey said.
In a statement an MSD spokesperson said it currently funds 11 organisations nationally, including Mosaic, to provide peer support services to male survivors.
"Budget 2019 allocated $11.56 million over four years, to strengthen support for peer support services for male survivors. By comparison, a total of $1.9 million was allocated over three years in Budget 2016 – so this is a big funding increase."
The statement said MSD funds the delivery of peer support services to male survivors of sexual abuse, however this does not include counselling services.
"Therefore MSD does not contract Mosaic to deliver counselling services."
MSD said existing data and information from funded providers, as well as the total level of funding available to support these services was used when deciding what funding providers get.
"As a funded provider Mosaic reports to MSD regularly providing details about the number of people they support."
As well as struggling to access more funding, Jeffrey said getting counsellors approved to offer ACC services takes many months of waiting and some of his staff have been declined multiple times.
ACC was approached for comment last week.