Tangata whenua: we acknowledge the aspirations of Tangata whenua that are contained and articulated within the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We are committed to providing culturally appropriate services to our community. Client-centred: we work from an inclusive position that values victim/survivors, listens to their stories and learns from their experiences. We uphold the need to support and empower victim/survivors and improve their situation. Feminist perspective: We seek to understand and address structural causes of inequality in our society and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence and abuse within our community. Collaboration: we understand the importance of working together with other agencies to develop comprehensive responses to sexual violence. We seek to maintain beneficial relationships with service providers. Education and prevention: we believe that all women, children and men have the right to live in safety and to be free from sexual abuse. We believe that the education of women, children and men and our communities is a positive step towards addressing sexual violence in our community. Integrity: We work with passion, commitment and integrity towards the establishment of just responses to victim/survivors of sexual assault and a community free of sexual violence.
History of Southland Help | RAASC : Rape and Abuse Support Center 1981 The Rape and Abuse Support Centre was established in 1981 as a telephone service staffed by volunteers working from their own homes. Back then it was called the Womens' Supportline and they dealt with a broad range of issues such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, health issues, and general information pertinent to women. 1984 The Womens' Support Line joins the National Collective of Rape Crisis and other related groups in New Zealand. This entitled the organisation to receive a small annual grant. 1985 The agency became an Incorporated Society, and continued to work collaboratively with other agencies such as Invercargill Womens' Refuge and the Southland Women's Resource Centre, where the service began to offer face to face assistance. 1992 After much hard work and fundraising by the volunteer members, the house in Nelson Street is purchased. 2008 The name change to Rape and Abuse Support Centre Southland Inc. in support of the focus being on abuse and sexual violence, followed by the restructuring and move away from the collective structure to membership within the wider community under the Society Membership. 2015 The name is rebranded as Southland Help... 33 years on RAASC continues to provide essential services to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and their family and friends. 2016 Our new premises in 225 Tweed Street.
Sue Centre Manager
I am the Manager of the Centre and am enjoying back in Invercargill. I have had a long involvement with the community sector, from managing and administering organisations to being on allocation funding committees and governance boards. I am passionate about the best outcome for the client. It is a privilege to be working for an organisation that has made such an impact in the community. I am qualified in Not-for-Profit Management and look forward to working with the board and staff to lead this organisation into the future. An organisation is only as good as the client delivery it gives and I am grateful for the team who provide the service delivery to enable our clients to make a difference in their lives.
Grad. Dip. NFP
Stephen ACC Counsellor
I am an Otago local but have worked all over Otago and Southland in my 20+ years as a counsellor. I specialise in the areas of abuse and intimate partner violence and work with individuals, couples and families. I am in Invercargill every second week, based with Southland Help while in Invercargill.
BA, MEd(Couns), PG Dip(Couns), MNZPsS
Susana ACC Counsellor
I have been involved with Southland Help for the past 6 years, and led the organisation for almost 4 years. I have been working in the social service sector in a variety of roles and settings since gaining my social work qualification, and particularly enjoy the healing and empowerment aspects of social change work with individuals, families and more recently leading social work practitioners. It is an honour to be part of an organisation whose primary focus is enhancing well being for those who have experienced sexual abuse and trauma, and to work with staff who are passionate, and dedicated to bring best practice solutions to people needing this specialist service.
BA, PGDipSocS, MANZASW
Shirl Holster Counsellor
I have relocated to Invercargill from Hamilton where I have worked for over 10 years in the addictions field. My experiences have seen me working in NGO’s such as a Kaupapa Maori Mental Health Service, Pacific Island Service and other NGO’s. I am a conscientious and highly competent counsellor with a personal and professional commitment to empowering others. I am passionate about supporting my clients towards their own personal growth, selfawareness and healing and am also experienced with working with clients who present with a diverse range of issues. I am excited to be working alongside our team of passionate and committed professionals and for the opportunity to provide support and counselling to individuals and families who have experienced sexual violence and are on their journey of healing and empowerment.
Vanessa Spooner Support Worker
Tēnā koutou katoa Ko Hikurangi te maunga, Ko Waiapu te awa, Ko Horouta te waka, Ko Ngati Porou te iwi, No Tokomaru Bay awau, Ko Vanessa Spooner awau. I was born in Napier and raised in Gisborne. I relocated to Invercargill from Gisborne in 2016 to study Social Services at the Southern Institute of Technology. My background is in teaching, having studied for my Diploma in Bilingual Teaching at Te Wananga o Raukawa in 2011. I am currently studying full-time for my Bicultural Teaching degree at the University of Otago, Southland hub. My role as a Support Worker is to tautoko clients who have experienced sexual harm and are on their journey towards healing and empowerment. I work alongside a team of passionate and dedicated staff, where every effort is taken to empower our clients in making positive changes in their lives.
Diploma in Bilingual Teaching
Anne Neilson Support Worker
I am originally from the Far North and have been living in beautiful Southland for 18 years after returning from the UK where I was based for nearly 20 years. My career has taken me from the Entertainment Industry where I worked as a Film and Television Makeup Artist to Counselling. I re-trained and completed a Diploma of Counselling 2017. I look forward to working alongside my clients to assist them on their journey of understanding their own story to empower them to thrive in their life.
Rhona Shaw Support Worker
Nga mihi mahana ki a koutou. Ko Tititea te maunga, ko Ma-atau te awa, no Waitahuna ahau. I am a newcomer to this delightful area nestled beside the magnificent Takitumu ranges and fortunate to have extended whanau who live here. My professional path, since the early 1980s, has created a quilt of many colours while working in the social service sector in many areas throughout Aotearoa and also in the Pacific. My passions are equity, emancipation and assisting people to open different doorways of thinking, living and being. During my career, I have worked in the areas of disability – assisting people to find equity in education and employment, teaching, group facilitation, education, quality systems, staff development, Tiriti o Waitangi training. It is humbling to be working in this area of facilitating growth and healing for those who have experienced trauma and sexual abuse. I am addicted to learning for both professional and personal development and enjoy the friendships, as well as the knowledge and skills from these experiences. I look forward to connecting with the Southland community.
Cert Comm. Studies; Dip Tchg., B.Ed; PG.Dip Ed; (Merit); M.Ed.Psych (1st Class Hons);
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) We are current suppliers of the new ISSC pathway (Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims), with five staff accredited to provide ACC counselling and social work services.
Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) We have ongoing support from this community funding scheme to assist with operations, and maintaining a free service for the Southland community.
Community Trust of Southland We are supported by the Community Trust of Southland, to support operational management and overheads. We are grateful to the ongoing support of the Southland community in investing in a free specialist sexual violence service for the community.
Invercargill Licensing Foundation We appreciate the ongoing financial contribution from ILT Foundation is assisting with our organisations financial management and operational costs. With this support are organisation has become robust and expanded services.
Invercargill Licensing Trust We are supported by the ILT Trust to fundraise, and increase revenue for the centre, which is gratefully received.
Lottery Grants Board Every year we are grateful to receive grants from Lottery to that enables our free services to be maintained and managed effectively. Partnership with the Funding Advisors has enabled our service to expand and meet growing service demand.
Patricia France Charitable Trust Our partnership with Patricia France has been long standing – and we are very grateful for the support of this Trust over the years in securing foundations for the service.
Rotary Club of Invercargill We have been grateful to receive the support of Rotary as benefactors of the Wild Food Festival, and other donations in kind received over the years, including mentoring support. Its great to learn alongside the business and humanitarian efforts of Southland people.