Shavaughn’s thoughts on crisis helpline closure
Shortland Street star Shavaughn Ruakere has written an open letter about the closure of Auckland’s sexual abuse crisis line, which is affecting her character in the show:
“Dear Prime Minister Key,
Last year Auckland's sexual violence crisis line was under threat of closure, and you stepped in to ensure the women and children of Auckland who were victims of sexual violence had somewhere to turn when they couldn't carry on. New Zealanders were proud when your government said publicly that these services were important, because we want to live in a society where our most vulnerable are treated with dignity.
I'm sad to be writing again because this crisis line is again under threat of closure. Despite last year's promise that it would receive ongoing sustainable funding.
Roimata, the character I play on Shortland Street was sexually assaulted in a recent story line. Because of this, I had the chance to talk to Help crisis line counselling staff to find out what it's like for victims of sexual violence. In the middle of the night when they feel like they can't go on, this service can be the difference between life and death. When court processes are underway, and women and children are testifying about what they've suffered, this is the service they call on. This experience has shown me we can’t afford to lose the crisis line.
That's why I'm calling on you to step in again and make sure Aucklanders don't have to go back to a time when those who have been raped or abused have no one to turn to.
Will you support the Auckland community by ensuring this service survives?