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Sex-Assault Fund Pledge

THE Tasmanian Liberals say they will double the funding for the Hobart Sexual Assault Service.
Deputy leader Will Hodgman said the service had been severely underfunded and sexual-assault victims faced unacceptable delays for counselling services.
Under the Liberal funding pledge, the service would get $450,000 extra a year for the next four years.
Mr Hodgman also said the State Government had been sitting on a KPMG report into statewide sexual-assault needs and called for its release.
He said if Labor failed to release it, a Liberal government would make the review public and implement appropriate recommendations arising from it.
Mr Hodgman said demand for the sexual-assault service had risen 320 per cent in two years and the Labor Government had refused pleas for more funds.
He said the Liberal plan would fund two extra part-time children's counsellors, a specialist adolescent counsellor, a male counsellor (the service has no male counsellor), an additional 30 hours a fortnight for the after-hours crisis service, a doctor to perform forensic medical examinations and a full-time co-ordinator for community education/prevention.
Hobart Sexual Assault Support Service chief executive Karen Jones said one in four children in Tasmania were sexually abused and one-third of all women in Tasmania would have been sexually assaulted by the time they turned 18, together with one-sixth of all men.
Meanwhile, child-protection workers gathered yesterday to protest at Parliament House Lawns in Hobart.
The rally called for the Government to put on 200 extra permanent staff.
Organisers said the rally aimed to highlight the fact that 3000 Tasmanian children with serious abuse problems were not able to access services because of staff shortages.

The Sunday Tasmanian (5-3-2006)
Charles Waterhouse

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