South Western Centre Against Sexual Assault (SWCASA) will receive counselling and support for an extra 154 survivors of sexual abuse over two years, under a $272,418 funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
The funds are part of a state-wide package set to reach an extra 2,800 survivors of sexual assault across Victoria, providing crisis support including counselling to respond to recent increased demand.
Nineteen services state-wide, including 14 Centres Against Sexual Assault, will receive funds to better support children, young people and adults who have experienced sexual assault.
Recent figures released by the Crime Statistics Agency show that reports to police of sex offences against children have almost tripled between 2009 and 2018, while recent media coverage of the Pell case has raised awareness of sexual assault and triggered a spike in demand from support services.
The $5 million funding boost will help services meet a surge in demand from:
- New referrals disclosing institutional abuse for the first time
- New referrals disclosing familial abuse for the first time
- Previous clients who are re-referring
- Increased referrals by other support services
- New referrals from individuals who have lost family members to suicide.
Sexual Assault Support Services provide crisis intervention, information, counselling, advocacy and coordination of support with child protection, police, forensic and healthcare workers.
Anyone impacted by sexual assault can access information on specialist support services at services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sexual-assault-support-services.
Quotes attributable to Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney
“These are abhorrent crimes and what has happened to these people can never be taken back.”
“For too long, victim survivors of abuse have not been heard – we are changing that by providing them with the extra support and help that they so strongly need and deserve.”