Victoria continues to deliver holistic and evidence-based advocacy, support and therapeutic treatment services to meet the needs of victim survivors of child sexual abuse, no matter the context of abuse. The Victorian Government is also continuing its work to improve how sexual assault service systems respond to the specific needs of individual victims and survivors, including those in the Aboriginal community.
Services for victims and survivors of institutional child sexual abuse
A total of $49 million over four years was committed to support all victim survivors of family violence and sexual assault in the 2021-22 Victorian State Budget. This includes funding for sexual assault support services to:
- increase intake capacity and respond to the rise in demand for sexual assault services, and
- provide new brokerage funding to support victim survivor recovery, including victim survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
The 2021-22 Victorian State Budget also committed $44.1 million over four years to deliver support for children impacted by family violence and sexual assault, which includes funding for additional sexual assault support services specifically for children and young people.
The Victorian Government funds dedicated support, advocacy, and counselling services for pre-1990 care-leavers, including child migrants. Pre-1990 care-leavers, also known as the Forgotten Australians, are people who were placed in institutional care as children before 1990. Many pre-1990 care-leavers experienced abuse during their time in care, including physical, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse. These experiences have had an enduring and detrimental effect on many of their lives. The Victorian State Budget committed $8.33 million over four years, plus ongoing funding, that includes funding for dedicated support, advocacy, and counselling services for pre-1990 care-leavers, including child migrants.
In 2022, the Victorian Government and Sexual Assault Services Victoria will work together to consider service models and service integration to strengthen access for victim survivors with disability.
Dedicated support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victim survivors
The Royal Commission recognised the importance of integrating culturally informed healing practices into the advocacy, support and therapeutic services available to Aboriginal victim survivors of child sexual abuse.
Three new Aboriginal services, led and designed by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and informed by the Nargneit Birrang Aboriginal Holistic Healing Framework for Family Violence are being trialled for up to two years in four areas of Victoria. These models offer culturally appropriate services and support for Aboriginal victim survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, including institutional child sexual abuse.
Review of the CASA Forum Standards of Practice
All members of Sexual Assault Services Victoria funded to provide sexual assault support services must comply with the CASA Forum Standards of Practice (CASA Standards of Practice). The CASA Standards of Practice guide sexual assault practitioners to respond effectively and appropriately to the needs of victim survivors of sexual assault, including victim survivors of child sexual abuse.
The CASA Standards of Practice outline current best practice for the sexual assault sector and align with the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence National Standards.
The CASA Standards of Practice will be reviewed in 2022 to ensure they align with Royal Commission recommendations. The review will also consider how the CASA Standards of Practice can better align with Victoria's Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management (MARAM) Framework. The MARAM Framework aims to increase the safety and wellbeing of Victorians by supporting relevant services to effectively identify, assess and manage risk related to family violence.
The National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
The Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a national centre to raise awareness, promote help-seeking and develop best practice support for victim survivors of child sexual abuse.
In October 2021, the Australian Government announced that the Blue Knot Foundation, in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation and the Australian Childhood Foundation, will establish and deliver the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. The National Centre will collaborate with victim survivors, major research organisations, service providers, and state and territory governments in its work.