Sexual Assault Support services provide support to people of all genders over the age of 13 across the continuum of sexual violence experience, specifically a current, recent or past sexual abuse or assault.
Sexual Assault Support services are staffed by experienced professionals who provide care and support in a holistic and therapeutic manner, assisting clients to work through their trauma at their own pace. Support is also available for partners and family members.
Support workers ensure you are at the centre of your own care They can explain legal and medical options, help you to contact the supports you need, address safety concerns, support you in a forensic exam (with your consent), and provide information around the effects of trauma and coping strategies. They can also co-ordinate any follow up services and provide ongoing counselling.
Reaching out can feel difficult yet it is important to remember that staff working for sexual assault services have a special interest in supporting people affected by sexual violence and are trained specialists. Staff also aim to provide a warm and friendly first contact as they understand the journey to healing and that asking for support can be difficult. Workers are there to support survivors of sexual violence and help them recover from their traumatic experiences. Many adults who have experienced sexual abuse have never told anyone and this is an important first step in their recovery.
Some clients can be worried that their situation and story will be too confronting or unusual for the counsellor, yet this is not the case, sexual assault counsellors have heard about the effects of sexual violence from many clients and there is no shame or judgement in telling your story. You can expect to be believed, treated with dignity and respect and be provided with a safe space to express and explore your thoughts and feelings.
There are a number of Child Sexual Abuse Therapy Services (CSATS) in WA.
Services aim to reduce the harmful effects of sexual abuse on children and support healing through therapeutic support which also aims to help children have a safe future free from abuse.
Services are for children who have suffered or are at risk of sexual abuse, as well as providing support to parents and caregivers who are worried about their children or suspect they have experienced sexual abuse. Programs also provide education to families and communities and assist them to support children and young people in their healing process.
Counsellors assist children to manage trauma and support them to develop skills and strategies to stay safe and well. Art, play therapies and other types of counselling are used to help children process traumatic experiences, manage behaviours, develop healthy coping skills and healing strategies. Groups focus on resilience, recovery and development of self-esteem. Support services can also teach parents to recognise the symptoms and effects of sexual abuse against children and identify ways they support their child’s healing.
There are also recovery groups available for children which focus on resilience, development of self-esteem and how to set boundaries.
Generally, the child and parent will receive support separately as services aim to be responsive to the needs of both and understand both children’s and parents individual coping skills. Sometimes a parent may have their own history of sexual abuse, sexual assault or family and domestic violence and need their own therapeutic support. Essentially parents acting and seeking support for their child is positive as it encourages safety building behaviours and creates a safe space where their child can talk about their experiences.
Services can also work with children and young people who may be displaying inappropriate or harmful sexual behaviours themselves towards other children.
There are also several Indigenous Healing Services who provide culturally secure and safe Children’s Sexual Abuse Therapy Services.
Certain services may be able to provide outreach within the community or out into various communities. Please contact individual services to understand what services they provide.
The National Redress Scheme provides support to people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse.
There are a number of free and confidential Redress Support Services available nationally and based in Western Australia. An accurate and up to date list of these support services can be found on the National Redress Scheme website here.
These services can provide you with the relevant information so you can decide if you want to start the application process. The services can help you understand the Scheme, talk about feelings and guide you through the whole application process. Other community services have also been provided than can help you think about your legal options and think about your financial options.