The brutal rape of a 5-year-old girl in a Turangi campground last month has sparked a new call to Prime Minister John Key to revive a task force on sexual violence.
In an open letter to Mr Key, Rape Prevention Education executive director Dr Kim McGregor asked Mr Key to re-instate the multi-agency Taskforce for Action on Sexual Violence and approve a national prevention plan it developed between 2007 and 2009.
Dr McGregor also appealed for "realistic and sustained'' funding for Te Ohaaki a Hine - National Network for Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH NNEST) services, which include early intervention programmes for children with concerning sexualised behaviour.
"Our early intervention programmes offer the best hope of identifying early, children who are at risk of later sexual offending, and intervening to prevent this ocurring.''
"While we have excellent specialist community treatment services throughout the country, these services are currently insufficiently resourced to help increase the safety in all of our communities.''
She said few of the taskforce's recommendations had been adopted and the sector's ability to prevent and deal with the country's high level of sexual violence had been diminished by funding cuts.
Sexual violence against children happened on a daily basis, affecting an estimated one in four girls and one in eight boys under the age of 16, she said.
"Although rarely by a stranger, every year a few of these thousands of children throughout the country will experience one-off brutal incidents similar to the one reported in Turangi.
"Others will experience regular sexual violations that may be repeated over months or even years.''
Sexual crime was also by far the most costly crime per incident, she said.
"Treasury estimated that sexual violence directly cost the economy $1.2 billion in 2003-2004, and the new cost now could be as high as $7.5 billion per year.''
A spokeswoman for Mr Key said Dr McGregor's letter would be replied to in due course - Jamie Morton