Govt Counselling for Abuse Victims

The Courier-Mail [Austrailia]
June 9, 2004

ADULT survivors of child sexual abuse will get free counselling as part of South Australian government moves to encourage more victims tell their stories.

Families and Communities Minister Jay Weatherill said a helpline would also be established to respond to the immediate needs of survivors and their families.

"Child sexual abuse occurs within a climate of fear and secrecy where the child is unable to tell others and is often faced with a lifetime of keeping a painful secret which has lasting effects," Mr Weatherill said.

"What we want to do with this program is to allow adult survivors to tell their story, to make a complaint or to have an opportunity to seek advice and take further action if they choose."

The government program would provide for face-to-face counselling, with those professionals involved to be offered training to boost their skills in dealing with victims of sexual abuse.

The package follows separate reports into child sexual abuse, one related to the activities of a pedophile at a Catholic special school in Adelaide and another involving abuse within the Anglican Church.

Mr Weatherill said there were many survivors of child sexual abuse who had never told their stories.

"Many survivors fear they will not be believed, they feel they are in some way to blame or sense that there is no one they can trust with their story," he said.

"The government believes it is crucial that adult survivors are given a chance to break the silence of their own abuse and are able to speak about their experience with a qualified specialist with an understanding of the experience of survivors."


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