The Cambridge Clinic – sexual abuse care across Canterbury and the West Coast

The Cambridge Clinic is a free, specialist medical service providing forensic and medical care to individuals aged 13 and over who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, either recently or in the past. We also offer specialist assessments for those who’ve experienced non-fatal strangulation or suffocation, with or without the sexual harm.

The Clinic has recently appointed a General Manager, Moira Underdown, to develop the Clinic and respond to the increased demand for its services. The Clinic benefits from strong collaborative relationships with other agencies providing sexual violence support services. Working with these agencies to increase awareness and break down barriers to access will be vital moving forward. Moira emphasises the importance of these partnerships:

“Having time to weave these connections and ensure that Māori, Pasifika, and the CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) communities are aware of the free services available is a priority. Sometimes these communities are isolated and not aware of the services that may be available or would like to understand more about what happens when you visit the Clinic.”

The Clinic is also exploring the recruitment of additional non-medical roles to ensure patients receive the comprehensive support they need. The Clinic operates weekdays and maintains a 24/7 on-call roster to ensure continuous support. For many, reliable access to support services is crucial for dealing with trauma and supporting long-term healing.

Moira Underdown brings extensive experience from public and private healthcare, government, and the NGO sector to her role as General Manager. She has been involved in initiatives such as the Integrated Safety Response in Canterbury and Te Aorerekura, the government strategy to eliminate family and sexual violence.

“This opportunity at the Cambridge Clinic allows me to bring those perspectives together at a time when the Clinic is looking at opportunities to grow and change to meet patient needs more effectively. It feels very exciting to be part of that and work with the amazing team and Board. What we look like in three years’ time will be a result of the input and commitment from everyone at the Clinic, and how we learn from each other, our communities, and our patients.”

Patient services:

  • Forensic assessment (gathering evidence for the police)
  • Medical assessment (wellbeing check of physical and mental health)
  • Contraception as part of a medical examination
  • Screening and management for sexually transmitted infections
  • Support to access crisis support (refuge/safe accommodation)
  • Referral to other support services (counselling, support groups, court support services, and ACC).

For more information about the Cambridge Clinic, visit http://www.cambridgeclinic.co.nz

He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka
A choppy sea can be navigated.