Supporting survivors of sexual assault and abuse

E tautoko ana i ngā mōrehu o te taitōkai me te tūkino
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We want to assure survivors of sexual abuse and assault that they will continue to get one-to-one support from specially-trained ACC staff.

We have evolved the way we manage sensitive claims and have expanded the team that previously was based only in Wellington to now be in eight locations: Whangarei, Newmarket, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

This change has increased the number of ACC people working 1:1 with survivors from 85 to 140 Recovery Partners (previously called case managers).

These Recovery Partners have all had the same high level of training as was previously the case when sensitive claims were all managed centrally.

For most of our clients, this approach will not be ‘new’; the changes began back in September 2019, and were completed in September 2020.

The benefit of a greater presence regionally allows ACC to better support clients and engage face-to-face with clients. Having a regional presence also allows us to build greater relationships with providers, NGOs and other organisations who support our clients.

It also creates a more stable workforce in the regions, which ultimately ensures that clients have consistency of care.

We continue to develop our internal capability to best support clients:

  • We have removed administrative tasks from our frontline people, allowing our Recovery Partners to focus solely on adding the most value to directly supporting our clients.
  • We have introduced whole-of-person management which means that any time a client with a sensitive claim also has a physical injury, we can manage both injuries together – if the client is happy for that to happen – which can result in more effective support.

Our new approach also means that those clients whose needs are stable, and who no longer require regular 1:1 support, can have their claim moved into a small team – but only if they and their treatment provider are comfortable with doing so.

Clients still have access to support from ACC when they need it, and we are able to make sure clients who have recently lodged claims can access faster 1:1 support from our Recovery Partners.

Protecting our clients’ privacy

We take the privacy of the information we hold very seriously.

ACC has responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Health Information Privacy Code 2020 that governs how it collects, stores, secures, corrects, uses, and shares information.

Access to sensitive claims on ACC’s claim management system are restricted to only those staff members that require access to support that client.

This is supported by regular review of sensitive claim access, access controls, audit logs and the employee code of conduct. Accessing information that an employee does not need to see can be considered serious misconduct.

All these changes to the way we manage sensitive claims are not new. We began talking about them with the mental health sector back in 2019 through a series of webinars, newsletters and liaison group meetings.

We know we still have more work to improve the way we support clients with sensitive claims, and we will continue to liaise with the sector on how we can do better.