A Day in the Life of… Cat: A Sexual Assault Services Counsellor Advocate

My name is Cat.

I'm a social worker and I work
as a Counsellor Advocate at CASA House,

the Centre Against Sexual Assault.

I think I always wanted to work
with people.

Specifically I wanted to work in a field

advocating for women and children.

I don't think I had the word ‘social work’

when I was growing up to define that in.

But I had the idea.

And so I started a Bachelor of Social Work
in university and narrowed my focus

more specifically into gendered violence,
social work and advocacy.

CASA house takes a Rights, Options,

Control model
or framework to our support with clients.

Rights, Options, Control
are things that are taken away

from someone when they 
experience violence or assault.

We want to give that back to them
when we support them.

That can involve advocacy
and navigating services.

Most typically the police
and medical units, but sometimes

other social work organisations
that come into contact with the client.

It can also involve meeting
therapeutic goals of healing and recovery.

You advocate for their choice.

You advocate for them to feel in control
of the decisions that they're making,

and you advocate to pause or slow
down the process whenever they need to.

We have a really great level of access

to supervision, clinical supervision,
and this collective care model.

And so you never really feel alone
in the challenges at work.

You always feel like there's
someone you can lean on

or someone that you can share
your decisions with

and share your decision making processes
with that it always feels like there's

someone to turn to, to either
validate your decisions or help you make them.

I think it feels really exciting

to be involved in a sector
that is expanding

and to be involved in a narrative

that doesn't feel silenced anymore.

Being able to engage in

policy submissions or policy advocacy.

Being able to engage in prevention

Being able to engage in research.

And to take a role as a worker

and an advocate in that change,
in that increased dialog,

feels really exciting
and feels like a real privilege.