Sexual Assault Counselling Australia provides counselling, information and referral:
The service is available from 8am to 11pm (AEDT), Monday to Friday.
Call: 1800 211 028
A free telephone interpreting service is available. Please let the counsellor know if you require an interpreter and we will arrange it for you.
Making, or considering making, a statement to the Royal Commission?
Making a statement to the Royal Commission about something that happened, or was witnessed, can be challenging.
The trauma specialist counsellors at Sexual Assault Counselling Australia can assist in weighing up whether or not to make a statement to the Royal Commission. They can assist in preparing to make a statement to the Royal Commission. They can also assist in managing the impacts of childhood trauma. The counsellors will always respect the decision made by their client and will not pressure anyone into either making a statement, or not making a statement.
Counselling support to manage the impact of childhood sexual assault trauma?
Child sexual abuse is traumatic and harmful to children. The longer the abuse continues, the more serious the effects. Children often develop amazing strategies to help them resist and/or survive the abuse. These strategies can sometimes cause other problems for them. Adults who were sexually abused as children may:
- have trouble trusting others;
- have trouble making and keeping friends;
- have poor self esteem;
- be self-destructive and/or aggressive;
- engage in risk taking behaviour;
- be confused about their identity and sexuality;
- have trouble learning and concentrating;
- find it difficult to express their needs;
- have high expectations of themselves;
- develop mental health problems; and/or
- abuse drugs and alcohol.
Counselling can help. It can’t take away what happened. But it can help to make it easier to live with. For some people counselling is about learning new strategies to cope. For some it is about telling the story, and feeling heard. For some it is about processing the trauma in order to grieve. For others it is about reclaiming their world. Sometimes counselling can help someone through all these stages.
The trauma specialist counsellors at Sexual Assault Counselling Australia can help in working out what someone may need from counselling and develop a plan. Face to face counselling can be for a relatively short time (for example 3 months) or it might be for a couple of years. Telephone counselling might be a one off, or it could continue for much longer.
For those supporting someone who is participating in the Royal Commission?
Supporting someone who has experienced trauma in childhood can be challenging. It can be difficult to:
- know what to say;
- avoid the ‘why’ questions;
- believe everything that is being said;
- not get angry (at the perpetrator or at the person who experienced the abuse);
- keep trusting people;
- keep the energy going and not feel worn out by it all; and/or to
- stop thinking about it.
There can be many challenges. A supporter can find that they begin to be affected by hearing the story of someone else's trauma. This is called vicarious trauma, and the symptoms can be very similar to those experienced by the person who experienced the trauma first hand.
Trauma specialist counsellors at Sexual Assault Counselling Australia can explain about the impacts of child sexual abuse and help supporters to work out what to say and do. The counsellors can also assist in developing an awareness of vicarious trauma and help in the development of a plan for self care. The better care supporters take of themselves, the more they will be able to help the person who was abused.