Sydney, 5 November 2015: The leading national organisation supporting the estimated five million adult survivors of child abuse and trauma in Australia, Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), has welcomed the news that the governments of New South Wales and Victoria will support the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s recommendation that they adopt a single, national redress scheme.
This news comes to light as ASCA’s Professional Support Line released its 2015 data from 5000 callers over the last 12 months, which found that the ages at which childhood trauma including all forms of child abuse most commonly occurred was between 6-15 years of age (26 per cent), with 62 per cent of respondents reporting that trauma and abuse occurred over multiple ages.
ASCA’s Professional Support Line data complements the Royal Commission’s research, which revealed that the average age of abuse occurring was 10 years of age for males, and nine years of age for females. The most common decade in which abuse occurred was the 1960s (28 per cent) closely followed by the 1970s (23 per cent).
Commenting on today’s news, President of ASCA, Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, said the support of a national redress scheme by the New South Wales and Victorian governments was incredibly pleasing and a step in the right direction to an equitable and just response.
“We are thrilled that two state governments support the national redress scheme. From extensive research we know that a national redress is the most effective way forward to ensure survivors of childhood abuse get the justice, help and support they have long deserved,” Dr. Kezelman said.
“We now urge the Turnbull government to show leadership, and work with each and every state and territory to commit to the national redress scheme before it is too late. The costs involved are significant, although far less than those of inaction.
“When looking ASCA’s Professional Support Line data from this year, we found that the majority of callers were in the 40 – 60 year old age range. It is surmised that the increase of older callers corresponds with high numbers of callers impacted by abuse in institutions in the 1960s and 1970s – at the time these came before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.”
“From our data we know that institutional abuse is one facet of a much wider societal problem. ASCA’s research shows that 68 per cent of childhood abuse occurs within the home, followed by abuse within institutions (nine per cent), and in care (seven per cent).
“We congratulate the The Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse. The work of the commission has instrumental in ensuring that a national redress scheme is being supported. We wholeheartedly believe that in order to provide the right support to adults, who as children experienced trauma and abuse not just in institutions but also in the home, family and neighbourhood, that this scheme is the most effective option.
“We can’t let the spotlight move away from this issue – we must continue to advocate for greater awareness as well as a national coordinated trauma-informed response.
“Though both sets of data shed a light on the harsh reality of child abuse and its prevalence in our society, we want to provide survivors with a message of hope – to let them know that recovery is possible and that it is important to reach out and seek help, which comes in many forms.
“It is also important to gain support from family, friends, co-workers and health care services with expertise in supporting survivors, as they are part of the journey to recovery – survivors must know they are not alone,” Dr Kezelman said.
Help and support is available from the ASCA professional support line on 1300 657 380, 9am- 5pm Monday-Sunday.
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About ASCA: www.asca.org.au
ASCA is the leading national organisation supporting the estimated five million Australian adults who are survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse, their families and communities. ASCA provides hope, optimism and pathways to recovery for those affected.
At the forefront of pioneering trauma informed policy, practice and research, ASCA has been instrumental in supporting the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and people engaging with it. This includes the training of key workers and practitioners.
In 2012 ASCA released Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery, a global first in setting the standards for clinical and organisational practice. In 2015 ASCA released an Economic Report, The Cost of Unresolved Childhood Trauma and Abuse in Adults in Australia, leading the conversation around the economic imperative of providing the right services for adult survivors.
Formed in 1995, ASCA provides a range of services including professional phone support with trauma informed counsellors, a referral database, resources, advocacy, research, educational workshops for survivors and family members, partners and loved ones, along with training, professional development and other services for workers, organisations and professionals, including those from health and legal sectors.
 Page 158, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse Interim Report Volume 1