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MSD: Sexual Violence Service Development Update

March 29, 2018 at 12:09 PM


27 March 2018

Sexual Violence Service Development Update

Kia ora koutou

In this update you'll find information about:

Popular pathways to Safe to talk helpline

Digital pathways such as text and online chat are initially proving to be popular ways of contacting the new national sexual harm helpline Safe to talk.

The helpline was launched on 19 February 2018 in the Canterbury region. Safe to talk provides, for the first time, 24/7 access to free, confidential information and support to those affected by sexual harm.

In the first month, the helpline was accessed over 100 times by people reporting historical abuse, seeking emotional support and access to/or information about local services.

So far, 42% of contacts are coming through text message and 35% through online chat on the Safe to talk website. Other people have been making contact through the 0800 number and email.

Efforts are being made to build awareness of the helpline through digital marketing which includes matching internet searches with the Safe to talk website, digital banner adverts, and Facebook advertising throughout Canterbury. There is also a street poster campaign.

The most common search terms in the Canterbury region so far have been sexual assault, sexual abuse, rape, legal age of consent and Safe to talk. In Canterbury, the website matched 4,658 searches in the first month and combined with digital marketing activity, this resulted in 653 people visiting the website in the first month.

The helpline can be accessed by:

The helpline will be rolled out nationally in April 2018. Safe to talk has been set up as part of the Government's commitment to better support people affected by sexual harm and to prevent sexual harm by ensuring more people get the help they need at the right time.

Safe to talk workshops

Homecare Medical, who are running the helpline, have held referral pathway workshops in Christchurch, Waikato and Auckland. A further workshop for Wellington providers will be held on 4 April. These sessions will explore the referral process to face-to-face services, and will also look at the set-up process for the Healthpoint sexual harm services directory.

Open invitation

Homecare Medical has extended an open invitation to providers to visit their Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch centres to understand how the organisation carries out its role across a number of sectors.

If you have any questions or would like to meet with helpline staff or visit Homecare, please contact:

Thanks for feedback on service guidelines

We would like to thank the providers who gave us feedback on the Sexual Harm Crisis Support Service Guidelines.

We thought it would be useful to gather this feedback now the guidelines have been in place since July 2017. We are currently analysing the responses of the 15 providers who completed the survey.

It's important that we work together to get the guidelines right so we appreciate the time taken to provide this feedback.

We will share the key themes in the next newsletter. Any recommended changes to the guidelines will take effect from 1 July 2018.

Reporting guide available to help providers

When the new guidelines for sexual harm crisis support services were rolled out, it included a new result measurements framework (RMF) to gather data from providers.

The purpose of collecting this data is to help providers and the Ministry understand the demand on services, the quality of services and how the services might be helping people.

We know this has been a year of transitioning to the new RMF and there have been some challenges in implementing this reporting.

To support providers of this service, we have developed a reporting guide to make this process easier (your local contract manager will be able to provide you with this if you have not received it yet). This, along with the feedback from the review of the guidelines, will help us to get reporting right.

More information will be provided in the next newsletter as we continue to improve the reporting process for providers.

Update on evaluation of sexual harm services

As you're aware, Malatest International has been contracted to complete a three-year evaluation of Ministry-funded specialist sexual harm services.

This includes crisis support services, the national sexual harm helpline, harmful sexual behaviour services and services for male survivors of abuse. The evaluation aims to:

  • assess the implementation of service development and outcomes of specialist sexual harm services
  • evaluate the changes in each service type and the extent the services achieve the desired aims
  • evaluate the extent the service changes as a whole to improve access for people who need the services and reduce the impact of sexual harm.

The researchers at Malatest have been having some good conversations with providers around the evaluation of specialist sexual harm services. Further meetings have been arranged with a number of providers and other meetings will be set up shortly. The details of the evaluation approach will be finalised after these discussions, but will include:

  • an annual workforce survey
  • analysis of information about the profile and outcomes for people supported by the services
  • the client voice through case studies and interviews.

Malatest has developed a workforce survey that has been reviewed by the advisory group that has been set up with Te Ohaakii a Hine - National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together (TOAH-NNEST).

The next step is to send out information and the survey link to managers at each provider to distribute among their staff to collect this year’s workforce data. The survey will be repeated annually to help see how the workforce changes over the next three years.

If you want to know more about Malatest or make contact, please visit or call 0800 002 577.

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