Who to believe

You’d think after all this time, we’d have this sorted out, but no: I’m afraid I still don’t know who to believe when it comes to the politics around ACC.

The Sunday Star Times ran a shocking story recently about some very disturbing emails that a client of ACC claims show a despicable internal culture of the sensitive claims unit.  ACC in full politicking mode, claims that most if not all of them are lies, yet at the same time the SST cites letters that acknowledge offensive emails:

“I would like to apologise for the emails sent between Rotorua branch and sensitive claims unit that contained negative information and held inappropriate content,” Walker wrote.


Rosemary McLeod in the Dominion Post provides this useful opinion:
“There are two ways to go with this, and either reflects the complexity and sadness of the whole subject of sexual abuse and the harm it does. If these are real emails, there have been people within ACC, and in its most sensitive area, whose attitudes to confidential information are appallingly unprofessional. If the emails are concocted, that suggests the lasting effect of incest on a vulnerable child who has become a dysfunctional adult.

Either way, the complaint confirms what we should never doubt – that sexual abuse is not some welfare-generated industry designed to sucker the taxpayer, but a social problem causing pain and harm to many people, a good many of whom will not recover from it within the 16 therapy or counselling sessions ACC now regards as optimal, and yet more of whom will never get that help.”

Which brings us to the review announced by Hon. Dr. Nick Smith Monday in this press release here with the Terms of Reference here.

So apparently, according to the minister, this pathway is still based on the Massey Guidelines. So lets look at what the Massey guidelines actually say:

“Sexual abuse is a complex life experience, not a diagnosis or disorder. It is not helpful to view sexual abuse as a single homogenous traumatic event that leads to a discrete disorder or pattern of trauma symptoms.

“The process of assessment and therapy needs to be safe. Various aspects of the therapy process also contribute to a sense of safety for the client and can prevent (or trigger) acute safety issues.

“Sexual abuse always affects the person abused in some way.

“Client-focused approaches are important for good outcomes. Clients should be equally involved in determining which effects are most problematic (eg, safety issues or effects that most interfere in daily living) and developing strategies to reduce these effects and improve quality of life. This means the therapeutic approach should be transparent, acceptable, and well understood by the client.”

Again, who to believe? The Massey University researchers have made it clear that the new pathway does not reflect their research, but we keep getting told it does.

Someone sent me this very interesting piece of research from 2005, which just made me even more confused especially when it predates the publication of the Massey Guidelines, and says things like this:
“Given the range of qualification levels involved, we hypothesise that more highly qualified professionals (psychiatrists and registered psychologists) are expected to achieve better outcomes and/or similar outcomes with fewer treatment visits per claimant.
“Given the serious nature of the mental injuries treated by ACC-funded providers, it may be appropriate for the initial and final assessments at the least to be conducted by a professional qualified to perform a DATA according to DSM IV criteria – i.e. a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.”


Is it just me, or does that sound familiar?

Who do you believe?

And lastly the very sad and disturbing story in the Herald Tuesday, about a woman who died (read suicide as the press are discouraged from publishing that word) after being declined for the counselling she so clearly needed.

So do we believe ACC that she wasn’t suffereing from a mental injury? Or do we believe her counsellor who applied for funding for a woman who was so affected by her sexual abuse as a child that she wanted to die? Is ACC responsible for her death?

What do you believe?

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