What to expect

Therapy is specific to each of us and so the path for each survivor depends on individual needs.

How the process works

Therapy is specific to each of us and so the path for each survivor depends on individual needs.

Some survivors may need a short intervention period of assistance, and others may need longer-term therapy.

Your therapist will work with you to assess the level and type of support you need, including finding the best options for support for you and your whānau. 

Format and length of sessions 

Your therapy sessions are typically weekly for an hour, however, you and your therapist will decide how frequent these may need to be.

Depending on your location, you may need to travel to reach a therapist near you. We may be able to support you with some of the costs of your travel, and we recommend you discuss this as part of your first conversations with us.

If travel is not an option or is too challenging, therapy consultations may take place online using Zoom or Microsoft Teams rather than face-to-face. Your therapist must consider this format appropriate for you, and you must consent to having therapy this way. 

ACC support when travelling for treatment

Stages of therapy

Getting started

Your ACC-funded therapy journey is broken up into stages. Your first two sessions are called 'Getting Started'.

These will focus on building a relationship with your therapist and deciding if they're the right fit for you.

Your therapist will let us know that you have engaged with them and will lodge a claim for you if this is the first time you’ve talked with a therapist. At this time, you may get a call from us.

If you decide your therapist is not the right fit, you will always have the right to find another therapist. 

Early planning

During the next four sessions, which we call 'Early Planning', you and your therapist will consider the best treatment path for you and identify potential needs and supports.

These supports could include social work, cultural support and whānau support hours.

Your therapist will complete a report for us about the best recommended treatment path for you and who will provide the necessary support. They will discuss this report with you before sending it to us.  

One treatment path your therapist may recommend is 'Support to Wellbeing (Short Term)'. This is recommended if your therapist believes a short-term intervention of a maximum of eight hours of therapy will meet your treatment needs and goals.

Other supports such as social work, cultural support, and whānau support hours may be included. 

If your therapist believes you would benefit from longer-term therapy, you will need to undergo a 'Supported Assessment' with a qualified assessor, who may be someone other than your therapist, to determine cover for a mental injury caused by sexual abuse.

You can continue to access support from your therapist over this time, and we will provide 10 sessions of therapy and six hours with the qualified assessor to ensure this assessment happens at the right pace for you. 

Your therapist will explain, prepare, and support you through this process, and will get your consent before collecting medical information for this assessment. From the time your claim is lodged, we have nine months to decide if your injury can be covered, and will continue supporting you until a decision is made.

Your therapist will explain this in more detail and we will keep you updated during this process. 

After your ACC claim is approved  

Support to Wellbeing

If we accept your claim, you will have up to 48 hours of therapy approved to use every twelve months. We call this stage 'Support to Wellbeing'. During this time, your therapist will support you in your treatment using the necessary and appropriate supports to achieve your treatment goals. 

Your provider will update us on how you’re doing and may invite you to participate in case conference updates with us. When your approved hours of therapy are nearing the end, and if further sessions are required, your therapist will complete a Wellbeing plan progress report noting your progress toward your goals. They may add some new goals and, if needed, request additional therapy sessions to help you achieve these goals.

Final stage of the process 

Maintaining Wellbeing

'Maintaining Wellbeing' is the final stage once you have completed your therapy.

We will continue to support you by funding your provider for four sessions each year for the next three years. These sessions are to help you navigate any challenging times without needing to go through the whole engagement process again.

If you need more support after this, or at any stage in the future, you can return to us for more in-depth support.

Learn more about how ACC can support you and your family

ISSC terminology

We've put together a glossary to help you understand words, acronyms and phrases commonly used throughout the process of obtaining support for sexual abuse and assault.

ISSC glossary