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ACC denied: Relationship not sexual abuse

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:39 PM

Does anyone know if the Counsellor concerned may have had a history of doing this to vulnerable clients & have there been other cases we should know about?

It is observed the Counsellor is no longer practicing as a Counsellor.


ACC denied: Relationship not sexual abuse SHANE COWLISHAW Last updated 05:00 04/06/2013

http://www.stuff.co....ot-sexual-abuse

A sexual abuse victim who entered into a relationship with her counsellor has been denied ACC cover because she was deemed fit to make appropriate sexual decisions.

The 37-year-old Wellington woman was refused cover for mental injury in 2010 after the corporation ruled that while the relationship had exacerbated her symptoms, it did not meet the criteria for a sexual-abuse event.

A person is eligible for ACC cover for a mental injury when caused by an act performed by another person that amounts to an offence under the Crimes Act.

The woman has a horrific history of sexual abuse and already has ACC cover for three separate claims relating to events when she was a child and during a later relationship.

After seeking assistance from a counsellor in 2005 for mental trauma relating to those events, a relationship developed during the sessions that led to the couple having sex.

This continued for a year, with the male counsellor continuing to provide professional services while maintaining a sexual relationship.

When the relationship ended, the distraught woman complained to the Health and Disability Commissioner and it is understood the counsellor is no longer practising.


After assessing the woman in 2010, a psychiatrist found the sexual relationship had contributed to her emotional distress and trauma.

"I am clear in my mind that she was inherently at risk and vulnerable to be psychologically traumatised and affected by a sexual relationship with a therapist."

However, the psychiatrist decided that the woman was able to function reasonably normally and her "capacity to understand the nature of sexual conduct" had not been impaired.

The woman appealed against the ACC decision, but in his decision Judge Martin Beattie disagreed and dismissed the case.

There was no evidence the woman was a person of "significant impairment" at the time of the sexual relationship, meaning she had the ability to consent or refuse, he said.

Speaking to The Dominion Post, the woman - who cannot be named - said she was unhappy with the decision and would take her case to the Court of Appeal.

She believed she had been suffering from erotic transference related to her previous abuse, a condition where emotions are shifted on to therapists.

"I wasn't coming on to my counsellor, I said I think I have transference, I'm not attracted to you, but he decided it was a come-on."

Police had told her there was not enough evidence to prosecute the man, but it had affected her more than the previous abuse.
"I would rate this as the worst experience, which doesn't make sense but it's called statutory rape in other countries
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#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:45 PM

Judge Beattie, whom presided over this case, & other http://www.acc.co.nz judges really must stop using people's real "initials" in these cases as it is way to easy to piece together whom these people may be with the internet these days.

To protect the identity of the person concerned we have chosen not to put the link to this case on this forum despite it been publically available elsewhere.

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#3 User is offline   Alan Thomas 

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 05:47 PM

This case of course goes right to the line regarding the point of law and in doing so enrages many people.

However the issue regarding an ACC claim is at the centre of this matter so the issue must be whether or not a crime has been committed during the course of the treatment.Critical to the concept of crime is the issue of consent. The ACC and the judge are of the opinion that the person concerned Did have the capacity for consent and as such a crime could not be committed. For a crime to be committed in the situation you would need to establish the existence of something akin to battered woman syndrome whereby there is actual power over the individual to the extent that consent could not be factored into the equation. This case does not reach that threshold.

The underlying issue however is the level of quality of service that the ACC have funded. There was culpable for maintaining that quality.

As the ACC have elected not to pay for medically qualified professionals to provide this type of treatment they downsize the claimant needs to that of a therapist which of course does not even have the medical Council guidelines to provide oversight. Even so that a medical professional had been providing the treatment that would have made no difference to this case as the medical Council do not create a point of law which can impact upon the criminal code.

The bottomline is that if a crime has not been committed then the ACC have no culpability.

My view is however that the ACC do have a duty of care in this matter and have let this poor person down terribly. This opens up the notion that all persons being provided treatment by those who only therapists and not qualified to treat PTSD risk additional harm as this poor person has obviously suffered. As this person continues to get incorrect advice about this matter no doubt the condition will deteriorate even further. In order to address wrong is you need to be pointing in the right direction and lay blame where blame belongs, the ACC.
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