Home | Browse Topics | Health & disability | Accident compensation (ACC) | Sexual abuse: Cover for resulting mental harm

Health & disability

When you’re covered by ACC, and when you’re not

Sexual abuse: Cover for resulting mental harm

ACC cover for mental harm caused by sexual abuse

Accident Compensation Act 2001, s 21, Schedule 3

ACC covers you if you’ve suffering from depression or other mental harm because you’ve been sexually abused. You don’t have to have suffered any physical injury, but to get the full range of ACC assistance you must have a diagnosed mental injury, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sexual abuse you’ve experienced doesn’t have to be the only cause of your mental injury, but it does have to be a cause.

There’s a special claims process for this type of claim, which is dealt with by a special unit at ACC.

How do I start the process of getting ACC help?

You start the process by talking to a therapist or other health professional. If you feel comfortable talking to your GP, you can begin with them, or instead you can contact a therapist who specialises in this area. To find a therapist, contact a support organisation like Sexual Abuse HELP or Rape Crisis, or go to ACC’s “Find Support” website, here (or go to findsupport.co.nz and click on “Find a therapist”).

What therapy and financial help is available for mental harm caused by sexual abuse?

You’re entitled to some initial therapy sessions paid for by ACC before ACC does an assessment of whether you’ve suffered a recognised mental injury as a result of the sexual abuse. Those initial sessions can help you decide if you want to go through an ACC assessment, which will include giving ACC full information about yourself and what happened. If you do go ahead with an ACC assessment, the assessor will usually be a clinical psychologist, but will sometimes be a different type of therapist.

If the assessment concludes that you’re covered by ACC, you’ll have access to a full range of ACC entitlements, such as long-term therapy or counselling, compensation for loss of income if your ability to work has been affected, “lump-sum” compensation for permanent harm caused by the abuse, and also help for your family or whānau.

Your right to an independent review if ACC reject your claim

As with ACC decisions for other types of claims, you can appeal to an independent reviewer if ACC turns down your claim for mental harm caused by sexual abuse. For example, if ACC’s assessor decides there’s not a strong enough causal link between your mental condition and the abuse you suffered, you can challenge that on appeal. You can also appeal if ACC accepts your claim generally but refuses you a specific form of assistance like lump-sum compensation. For more information, see: “Challenging an ACC decision”.

Did this answer your question?

Accident compensation (ACC)

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

ACC’s website provides information to help you navigate the ACC system. It includes information on the claims process, possible entitlements and how to resolve an issue with ACC.

Website: www.acc.co.nz

General questions 
Email: information@acc.co.nz
Phone: 04 816 7400
Claims helpline: 0800 101 996

Sensitive claims
Email: sensitiveclaims@acc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 735 566
Free therapy services for sensitive claims: www.findsupport.co.nz

Deaf services email: deaf@acc.co.nz

Language and cultural services phone:  0800 101 996

Request your personal information:  www.acc.co.nz/contact/request-for-personal-information

Way Finders

Way Finders is a free nationwide independent service that can provide you with general or specific advice about ACC and help you navigate the system.

Website: www.wayfinders.org.nz 
Email: info@wayfinders.org.nz
Phone: 0800 273 030

Talk Meet Resolve (TMR)

Talk Meet Resolve is a free independent nationwide service that can assist you in resolving your dispute with ACC.

Website: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Email: info@talkmeetresolve.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

Complete the webform: www.talkmeetresolve.co.nz/contact

Medical Council of NZ

The Medical Council of New Zealand is responsible for ensuring doctors are competent and fit to practise. The website contains a register of practising doctors.

Website: www.mcnz.org.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.co.nz
Phone: 0800 119 221

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Privacy Commissioner

The Privacy Commissioner website provides information about your rights and responsibilities under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Privacy Principles. It also outlines the role of the Privacy Commissioner and how to make a privacy complaint.

Website: www.privacy.org.nz
Email: enquiries@privacy.org.nz
Phone: 0800 803 909

To make a complaint online: www.privacy.org.nz/your-rights/making-a-complaint

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top