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Select a topic below to know more about support for victims of sexual assault:
Children who have experienced sexual assault have a range of both physical and emotional reactions that they may not always be able to express.
They may have been sexually assaulted by someone in their family or by someone known to the family. Many parents will feel shocked and angry that this has happened to their child. They may feel guilty that they didn't protect their child from the abuse. It is important to remember that the child and non-offending parent is not to blame for the abuse; the offender is responsible.
Many children will experience feelings of guilt about the abuse, particularly if a family member has abused them. Children may be afraid of what could happen if they tell someone.
Many children may have difficulty talking about their feelings and may show how they are feeling through their behaviour. Children may:
You can support a child victim by:
It may help to seek professional advice and support for your child and yourself. For more information contact NSW Health Sexual Assault Services,
Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Counsellors (CASAC) or apply for counselling through Victims Services.
The ' Helping to make it Better' publication provides information for parents and carers about the sexual assault of children and how to support them.
As well as having worries or experiences as described for children, teenagers have added concerns following a sexual assault.
They may be worried about their sexual health, and they may worry about becoming pregnant.
Young people may:
You can support a teenager by:
All NSW Health sexual assault services and other services provide help equally to both males and females. There are staff trained in these services to work with men, who can find it very difficult to talk about sexual assault .
It is thought that males under-report their experience of sexual assault, because of fear of not being believed, shame and embarrassment. Many males fear their assault "has made them gay" or that they may become abusers. These fears are not true.
When a Man is Raped - A Survival Guide: Information for men who have been raped, parents, partners, spouses and friends This booklet provides information which may help and empower them to deal with the trauma of rape.
All NSW Health sexual assault services and other services provide help equally to all people. There are staff trained in these services to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
There are also a number of specialist designated Aboriginal services that can assist victims from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, within the police, public prosecutors offices and courts.
If you wish to talk to the police about a sexual assault, you can ask to speak with an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, who may be located in the Local Area Command. Police can also contact an Aboriginal support person in your local area.
If you are a child or young person or are concerned that a child or young person has been sexually assaulted, you can make a report to Family and Community Services by contacting the Child Protection Helpline on
132 111. If you would like to speak to someone in person, you can go your local Community Services Centre where arrangements can be made for you to talk to an Aboriginal Caseworker.
If you wish to speak to an Aboriginal counsellor in your area, you can contact the
Centre for Aboriginal Health on
(02) 9391 9502 about the availability of Aboriginal Family Health Workers, and/or Aboriginal sexual assault workers in your area. NSW Health has specially trained counsellors who receive training to respond to the needs of victims of sexual assault.
There are also a number of community-based services and information lines that provide legal advice and information, including:
Victims financial assistance and access to the Victims of Crime Approved Counselling Service:
If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island person who is a victim of crime in NSW (like family violence or sexual assault) you can call the Victims Services
Aboriginal Contact Line on
1800 019 123. Victims Services has an Aboriginal Contact Officer who can refer you to the best person to help you access information about financial assistance and/or counselling.
The Witness Assistance Service of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, has some
Aboriginal Witness Assistance Officers, who can assist you if you have to go to court. Phone: (02) 9285 2502 or
1800 814 534.
The crime of sexual assault stirs-up a lot of strong feelings, such as shock or distress. Sometimes people want to take matters into their own hands or are very angry. If the assault was committed by someone in the family, or by someone you know, there may be some reluctance to cause "upset"
Before providing support to someone who has been sexually abused or raped, think about your own feelings and reactions and talk to someone close to you, or to a counsellor about the assault and how it may have effected you.
Victims of sexual assault experience a range of emotions and feelings and they often feel very alone, afraid and embarrassed. Some may feel depressed, anxious or may have eating difficulties, may drink too much or become dependant on other substances to help them relax or forget about the assault.
Some ways of supporting victims of sexual assault include:
Justice Journey section and
resources section of the Victims Services website provides more information about support for family and friends.