Code or Practice and Code of Ethics

Rape and Sexual Abuse Healing Centre




Rape and Sexual Abuse Healing Centre follows Rape Crisis Code of Practice



The Code of Practice is concerned with Rape Crisis workers’ responsibilities for their own healing and growth and their accountability to the organisation and to the wider community.

For the purpose of this document the term Rape and Sexual Abuse Healing Centre workers means support and crisis workers, counsellors and therapists.



1. In commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Rape Crisis workers shall support and help resource initiatives of Maori women to provide the best possible service to Maori clients.

2. To provide the best service to the widest range of clients, Rape Crisis collectives shall try to recruit women from all sectors of the community they serve.

3. Rape Crisis collectives shall have an affirmative action policy towards recruiting lesbians. They shall ensure that the collective is a safe place for lesbians to be out.

4. All Rape Crisis workers shall undertake an introductory Rape Crisis training programme and be members of a Rape Crisis collective. A Rape Crisis worker shall adhere to the commitment she has made to her local collective and comply with the National competency standards.

5. Rape Crisis workers have a responsibility to maintain and upgrade their skills knowledge, self-awareness and information in the areas of counselling/support, sexual abuse and in any specialised areas of work through on-going education, participating in workshops, seminars and conferences and by reading. They have responsibility to empower each other by actively promoting the interchange of skills ideas and information.

6. Rape Crisis workers shall ensure they receive regular supervision/peer review. This is to address their own process in relation to the client to ensure high standards and assist the Rape Crisis worker to identify any on-going training needs.

7. Rape Crisis workers shall have a commitment to continue their own healing and development and shall address their own issues around power control discrimination and oppression.

8. Rape Crisis workers are responsible for ensuring that the satisfaction of their own emotional needs is not dependent upon relationships with their clients.

9. Rape Crisis workers have a responsibility to encourage the client to develop her own natural support networks outside of the counselling/support relationship.

10. Rape Crisis workers are responsible for setting and monitoring appropriate boundaries between themselves and their clients and for making those boundaries as explicit as possible.

Establishing boundaries is particularly challenging in Rape Crisis and especially important because we are working with women whose boundaries have been violated by sexual abuse. We are a feminist, grassroots organisation drawing on women’s own experiences: we believe that wherever possible power imbalances should be reduced.


Boundary issues for Rape Crisis workers include the following:

In the support role Rape Crisis workers may be offering a relationship that includes elements of friendship as well as helping skills. This is not however an equal friendship and the boundaries need to be set to allow the best support for the client and to prevent burnout in the support worker.

Women who have been supported by Rape Crisis often themselves move into support and counselling roles within Rape Crisis collectives and are thus able to use their own experience to help others. Such changes in relationship and boundaries need to be addressed.

Boundaries will vary in support counselling and therapy. When the healing journey is ongoing and especially working with deep issues, clear separation into counsellor/therapist and client roles with appropriate boundaries is essential for the safety of the client and for optimum healing.

In some small towns and rural areas and in specific communities, Rape Crisis workers are asked to support and give counselling to women who are already friends or involved in other social relationship. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this. Monitoring by supervision is especially important in these cases. Longer term counselling and therapy is not advised where boundaries are indistinct or flexible in this way.

Moving into a sexual relationship with a woman who comes to us for support is not acceptable in any situation because:

a. it may repeat an earlier confusion of affection, love and sex

b. exploitation of the client is highly likely

c. Establishing an equal balanced relationship is not possible.

Rape Crisis strongly advises against a Rape Crisis counsellor moving into a sexual relationship with a woman who has come to her for counselling, even after she has left counselling.


Code of Ethics



The code of ethics serves a number of purposes:

For the purpose of this document the term Rape Crisis Worker means support and crisis workers counsellors and therapists.


  1. Rape Crisis workers shall respect the client’s right to privacy and preserve the confidentiality of information obtained in the course of their work.  The keeping of confidences is a primary obligation.  Confidential information shall be disclosed only with the client’s informed consent, unless there is a clear danger to her life or safety to others, or to the public at large.  Client co-operation and participation shall be invited before disclosing information.  Rape Crisis workers shall inform clients of the limits of confidentiality.

  2. During the course of the support/counselling relationship the client shall be free from the possibility of sexual exploitation or harassment from the Rape Crisis worker.  Sexual harassment includes deliberate or repeated comments, requests, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature.  It also includes disclosure of sexual attraction to the client by the Rape Crisis worker.  Sexual intimacy between a Rape Crisis worker and client is absolutely unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.

  3. Rape Crisis workers have a responsibility to ensure that clients have as much information as possible for making their own informed choices and decision.  Rape Crisis workers shall respect each client’s individual process and be committed to empowering the client and fostering maximum self-determination.

  4. Rape Crisis workers shall not abuse their position by taking advantage of clients for purposes of personal, social, political, financial, spiritual or sexual gain.  They shall not pressure clients to do anything they do not want to do.  All reasonable steps shall be taken to ensure that clients do not suffer physical, psychological or social harm during counselling/support.  

  5. Rape Crisis workers shall not misrepresent their qualification, experience or services.  They shall acknowledge the limits of their competence, suitability and availability and refer clients to others when this is necessary or desirable in the best interests of the client.  Rape Crisis workers have an obligation to endeavour to find for each client the most appropriate counsellor/support in terms of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, class or political beliefs.

  6. Rape Crisis workers have an obligation to establish clearly with clients the expectations they each have of the service, and to clarify how these might be met.  Where the worker or Rape Crisis as an organisation is unable to meet the client’s expectation or needs the client shall be told this and helped to decide her future actions.

  7. The Rape Crisis worker shall end the counselling/support relationship in a caring manner and refer on where necessary when either of them decides this is no longer beneficial or within the scope of Rape Crisis.

  8. Counsellors shall provide adequate information about the nature of the counselling relationship and their ways for working and should provide a copy of the Rape Crisis Code of Ethics and relevant ACC information, always ensuring that these are understood.  The counsellor shall uphold the principle of free and informed consent by the client to any suggested therapy or other procedure in counselling and for any research and teaching purposes.

  9. Rape Crisis workers shall take action through appropriate Rape Crisis channels against unethical conduct by otherworkers especially where this conduct is harmful to others.

  10. Rape Crisis workers shall follow the Complaints Procedure in the case of a complaint being laid by a client or other.