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National peak body supporting survivors of child abuse expands services with new premises

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29 Jul

National peak body supporting survivors of child abuse expands services with new premises

launch-admin Jul 29, 2013 0 433

MEDIA RELEASE

 

Statistics from ASCA helpline show the majority of callers have been affected by family abuse

 

Sydney, 29July 2013: The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins, today opened new premises for the national peak body Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) in Neutral Bay. Moving from Kirribilli, the new location houses ASCA’s national office and an expanded call centre for ASCA’s 1300 657 380 professional support line with its recently extended services.

At the official opening, the President of ASCA, Dr Cathy Kezelman, revealed new research from the support line. The data shows that the majority of callers were abused by someone from their immediate family (63%), compared to nearly one fifth of callers who said they were abused by perpetrators from institutions (18%).

The findings also show that 20% said they were abused by a member of their extended family, 10% by family friends, and only 2% reported being abused by strangers. There was also 19% who said they were abused by multiple perpetrators.

Dr Kezelman commented: “The much needed Royal Commission has brought to light the horrors of child sex abuse in our institutions. The Government is to be commended on its leadership and support for Australians who’ve been impacted in this way. However, it is important to remember that childhood trauma occurs in a diversity of settings and by a range of perpetrators – not solely within our institutions.

“It is confronting to learn about the high numbers of people who are abused by those who are close to them – in positions of care, nurture and trust. However it’s a harsh reality that needs to be addressed. As more people come forward, whether they are survivors or supporters, we will need specialist targeted services. Only then will we as a community be able to remove the taboo around this subject and unite together in the fight against child abuse, and the devastating impacts it can have on our communities.

“It takes enormous courage to speak out and seek help, but as the Royal Commission continues to raise awareness around child abuse, we hope that more people feel they can come forward, whether they have been affected directly or indirectly by any form of abuse or trauma.”

At the ceremony, the Minister announced funding granted to ASCA from the Department of Health and Ageing under the e-mental Telework initiative for phone and online services.

Senator Collins said that the Federal Government’s $1.5 million funding to ASCA means the organisation can expand their telephone counselling line 1300 657 380, its online services and referral database.

“These services will help survivors of childhood complex trauma, their carers and the health professionals who work with them,” she said.

“I congratulate ASCA on its hard work and commitment to such an important area of mental health care.”

The funding has allowed ASCA to expand its specialist services by extending the call line hours from four hours a day, Monday to Friday, to a full seven days from 9am-5pm, with more trained counsellors. It also provides ASCA the opportunity to expand its referral database of trauma-informed health professionals and create a new database of GP’s with expertise in trauma-related issues. The funding also provides the capacity to develop online services including the creation of factsheets for survivors, supporters, health practitioners, GPS, and workplace workers and managers as well as video training for diverse groups.   

Dr Kezelman added: “ASCA is extremely grateful for the funding from the Department of Health and Ageing under this initiative. It will enable us to continue to lead the way in providing much needed professional support to adult survivors of all forms of childhood trauma and abuse.

“The North Sydney Council has also played a key role in providing the premises and making financial contributions to the space. We are very thankful for the support.”

 

About the research:

 

The findings are based on statistics from over 3,500 recorded incoming calls to the ASCA helpline over the past four years.

Perpetrator of abuse (identified by survivors)

Australia

Immediate family

63.08%

Extended family

20.19%

Family friend

10.10%

Stranger

2.43%

Religious (institutional)

8.77%

Teacher (institutional)

6.56%

In care (institutional)

2.21%

Health professional

1.92%

Multiple perpetrators

18.94%

 

Source: ASCA         

 

If you or someone you know has been affected by childhood trauma and abuse, help and support is available from the ASCA professional support line on 1300 657 380.

 

-ENDS-

 

About ASCA:  www.asca.org.au

ASCA is the national peak body which focuses exclusively on advancing the needs of the estimated four-five million Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma.  ASCA was formed in 1995 and provides a range of services: professional phone support, a referral database, workshops for survivors and their supporters, education and training programs for health care professionals and workers, newsletters for survivors and health professionals, advocacy, research and health promotion in the areas of complex trauma and trauma informed care and practice.  ASCA is also a founding member of the national Trauma Informed Care and Practice Advisory Working Group – advocating for a national agenda around trauma informed care and practice. ASCA is the key Australian organization providing hope, optimism and pathways to recovery for adults with complex needs who have experienced all forms of childhood trauma.

Info on ASCA’s Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery, can be found online here.

 

Childhood trauma:

As defined by ASCA, childhood trauma includes sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, witnessing and experiencing the impacts of family and community violence and a range of other adverse childhood events.

 

Twitter: @ASCAORG

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdultsSurvivingChildAbuseASCA

 

Media Contact: Laura Douglas: laura@launchgroup.com.au or 02 9492 1002 / 0452 505 859