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Funding for counselling

ACC and WINZ provide funding for counselling to help you recover from sexual abuse.

ACC entitlements for survivors

Survivors can apply for ACC entitlements through the sensitive claims process. Sensitive claims are made when a mental injury is caused by ‘certain criminal acts’ specified in sections of the Crimes Act 1961 and listed in Schedule 3 of the Accident Compensation (AC) Act 2001.

Any adult or child who is sexually abused in New Zealand and suffers a “mental injury” because of the abuse is eligible for ACC entitlements.

  • sexual abuse includes most forms of sexual violation or indecent assault on an adult, all sexual contact with children, and female genital mutilation.
  • “mental injury” means that the abuse has caused psychological problems. For example, depression, anxiety, sexual problems, inability to trust people, drug or alcohol abuse, nightmares or flashbacks, or feeling unsafe.

Everybody has a different response to the abuse they suffered, if you are unsure whether you meet ACC criteria talk to a counsellor or a specialist sexual violence service about your situation. Find out more about how ACC can help here, and about the support sessions after sexual abuse here.

How much will it cost me?

ACC subsidises counselling for sexual abuse survivors. How much each session will cost you will depend on how much your counsellor charges on top of the ACC subsidy (often called a "surcharge" or "top-up"). Fees vary greatly so you will need to discuss what “top-up” will be charged with your counsellor when you phone to make an appointment.

Note that ACC will not pay for counselling for problems it does not consider were caused by the sexual abuse.

Can I see any counsellor?

This subsidy is only available for counsellors registered by ACC. Note that ACC calls all practitioners who they register to provide psychological treatment for sexual abuse an “ACC Counsellor” no matter what profession they are from e.g. counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist etc. Phone the ACC Sensitive Claims Unit on 0800 735 566 to find a registered counsellor near you.

Other entitlements

In addition to subsidised counselling, if you are permanently impaired as a result of an injury that occurred after 1 April 2002, you may be eligible for a lump sum payment. This payment is in addition to any other support you may receive from ACC.

Assessments for lump sum payments are fully funded by ACC and will begin two years after your injury, or when your condition has stabilised. The amount will depend on the level of impairment you have sustained.

If you have a gradual process injury, you may be able to choose between a lump sum payment or an independence allowance. Contact ACC Claims for more information.

If you are permanently impaired as a result of an injury that occurred before 1 April 2002, you may be eligible for an independence allowance. The amount you receive depends on your level of impairment, and is paid in addition to any other entitlements or assistance you may receive from ACC for injuries.

For providers:

If you are a provider follow this link for information on how to lodge and manage sensitive claims. Or click here for information for providers working with sensitive claims.

Sensitive claims are managed by ACC’s Sensitive Claims Unit because of their highly personal nature. If you have any questions about a sensitive claim, phone the Sensitive Claims Unit on 0800 735 566.

WINZ entitlements for survivors

The Disability Allowance from Work and Income to Pay for Counselling

Work and Income (WINZ) subsidises counselling for beneficiaries and low income earners through the Disability Allowance.

It is available to people who qualify for a Community Services Card including those on a benefit or those who are working. You can receive this allowance if you meet income criteria and your Doctor agrees that you need counselling.

An application can also be made on behalf of a child if they are aged 18 years or under and financially dependent on the person who is making the application.

Can you see any counsellor

Most counsellors, psychotherapists, and psychologists are able to see clients who are being subsidised by WINZ. When choosing a counsellor ask them if they see clients funded by WINZ before you make an appointment

WINZ can grant you the financial assistance you’re entitled to from the date you first contact them if you complete your application within 20 working days of that date.

If you have any questions, call WINZ on 0800 559 009 from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 8am to 1pm or contact your Case Manager at your nearest Service Centre.

If you are deaf or find it hard to communicate by phone, you can send a message to the WINZ Deaf Link free-fax on 0800 621 621 or email

For more details visit the Work and Income website or download the application form if you are an existing WINZ client or someone not currently receiving Work and Income assistance.