Expanded state-wide free counselling for child sexual abuse survivors

Children, young people and adults who have survived child sexual abuse can access free counselling, information and referrals under an expanded state-wide service for South Australia.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said Relationships Australia will deliver the Child Sexual Abuse Counselling service, backed by $1.4 million in Marshall Liberal Government funding over three years, an increase of $300,000 on previous funding.

“Expanding this important counselling service means that we can provide vital support to people wherever they live in South Australia,” said Minister Lensink.

“The Marshall Liberal Government funded service provides free counselling, either in-person or via phone or video chat, with specially trained counsellors and psychologists.

“Crucially, it will also offer group programs and flexible individual support, such as couple counselling, parent-child counselling or family therapy, which helps people address the emotional, social and psychological health impacts of childhood sexual abuse.

“Children and parents-to-be may particularly benefit from this service as they navigate major life transitions.

“Survivors’ partners or other family members can also receive support through the service.”

Expansion of the service was planned in consultation with the sector and in response to findings from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which recommended boosting capacity to address complex issues through a variety of specialist services.

Relationships Australia SA CEO Dr Claire Ralfs said her organisation is pleased to deliver therapeutic counselling for survivors of child sexual abuse, building upon many years of providing trauma services to survivors of violence and abuse.

“The counselling will support survivors and their families to find pathways to recovery by helping them overcome the impacts of abuse and understand how complex trauma may be affecting their lives and relationships,” said Dr Ralfs.

Relationships Australia was selected following a competitive open tender process. The new service is available starting from July 1, 2021.

Survivors of child sexual abuse can contact Relationships Australia on 1800 408 408 or by visiting www.rasa.org.au/csacounselling.

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