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  Home :: 2007 January :: Aware ACSSA Newsletter No. 7 June 2005


ACSSA Newsletter No. 7 June 2005
Good Practice Special Edition

Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies
ISSN 1448-8140 (Print); ISSN 1448-8167 (Online)
ACSSA Coordinator: Melanie Heenan


Publications from the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault(ACSSA) are available from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). If you wouldlike to receive future publications as they are released please register your details for the ACSSA mailing list.

The full version of this newsletter can be downloaded in PDF format or accessed as HTMLbelow. To view or download individual sections of the newsletter click on the relevant link in Contents.

Download the full PDF file of AWARE No. 7 (PDF 356KB)



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Introduction Introduction - (PDF 131KB)
ACT: Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC) ACT: Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC) - (PDF 47KB)
NSW: Rape Crisis Online NSW: Rape Crisis Online - (PDF 38KB)
NT: Respect Relate Stop Rape NT: Respect Relate Stop Rape - (PDF 53KB)
QLD: Resource book: "Working with young women who self harm" QLD: Resource book: "Working with young women who self harm" - (PDF 42KB)
SA: Sharing community education campaigns: Postcard and bus advertisements SA: Sharing community education campaigns: Postcard and bus advertisements - (PDF 59KB)
TAS: Kids Quest Project TAS: Kids Quest Project - (PDF 42KB)
VIC: CASA Forum Inc. VIC: CASA Forum Inc. (PDF 50KB)
WA: Workshop: "Another Layer of Trauma" WA: Workshop: "Another Layer of Trauma" - (PDF 75KB)
Table: Good Practice Around Australia Table: Good Practice Around Australia - (PDF 144KB)
ACSSA Good Practice Database ACSSA Services - (PDF 94KB)
ACSSA publications  
ACSSA services  



Welcome to the special "good practice" edition of ACSSA Aware, the newsletter ofthe Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. We are keen, in this specialone-off edition, to highlight examples of good practice in service provision fromeach state and territory, in the spirit of sharing information and experiences acrossthe sector.

Sharing "good practice"

In this addition we wanted to cover a diverse range of initiatives, and asked representativesfrom the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence toselect programs or projects that were particularly innovative. Of course, with all thewonderful work being done by services throughout the country, there were amyriad of good programs to choose from.

However, for the purposes of this special edition newsletter, we have been able todocument one program from each state and territory that services felt not onlyreflected good practice, but also would be important to profile and share with otherservices in different parts of the country. We will, however, continue our traditionof profiling examples of good practice in regular editions of Aware, so in time wehope to cover many of the high-quality initiatives being carried out by services andpolicy makers across Australia.

The good practice initiatives presented in this edition have been assessed accordingto whether they meet the following criteria. They each respectively:

  • Take account of contemporary research and practice developments in thefield of sexual assault;
  • Position diversity as key to the development, understanding and delivery of good practice models;
  • Contribute to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or are directed at preventing sexual assault;
  • Demonstrate a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault;
  • Have a clearly defined conceptual framework;
  • Include processes of accountability and evaluation; and
  • Demonstrate a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use).

After each state and territory nominated the program or project they would like tohave included in the special edition newsletter, ACSSA researchers made direct contactwith the specific project workers or organisations involved. Each organisationwas then asked to complete ACSSA's "good practice questionnaire". In the questionnaire,organisations: describe the program, its aims and objectives, the area itservices, its target groups, how long it has operated and so forth; as well as the program'sphilosophical framework, the research upon which it draws, the resourcesproduced through the program, and the process through which it is evaluated. Theorganisation is then asked to nominate which criteria of good practice they believethe program meets. The information provided in this edition was therefore dependenton the information provided by the services themselves. Where appropriate,additional information was sought from individual workers or from those whocould detail how the project was developed or established.

We have presented each program in two parts: the first is a checklist of theprogram's good practice elements as nominated by the organisation orservice responsible for the program; the second is a description of thevarious aspects of the program. Following the presentation of the programsis a table outlining contact details for further information on eachprogram, research upon which the program draws, program outcomes interms of publications, pamphlets, and funding sources. The programsdetailed in the body of the newsletter are arranged alphabeticallyaccording to state/territory.

This special edition is by no means the "be all and end all" of good practicein service responses to sexual assault. ACSSA's online Good PracticeDatabase is constantly growing, and can be accessed at www.aifs.gov.au/acssa/gpdb/goodpractice.html. This database is a national collection ofprograms and/or approaches that aim to improve our understanding of,as well as our responses to, sexual assault. We hope that the database willbe used to inform the work of other service providers who are developingor refining best practice models in responding to sexual assault.

We encourage service providers, policy and program developers, educatorsand trainers, researchers and others working to address sexualviolence to contribute information about their own projects and programsto our Good Practice Database. ACSSA is happy to assist those withtime and resource constraints to complete an application for entry.

Submissions can be made by completing a brief questionnaire, and areassessed by ACSSA research staff against certain criteria (outlined above).The questionnaire can be completed online at the above web address,or downloaded as a Word document. Alternatively, call ACSSA on(03) 9214 7888 to have a copy mailed to you. Questionnaires may bereturned to ACSSA at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, 300 QueenStreet, Melbourne, VIC 3000. Email: acssa@aifs.gov.au. Fax: (03) 9214 7839.

As always, ACSSA remains keen to receive feedback on how we can bettermeet the needs of those committed to working against sexual assault, soplease continue to provide us with your comments on current or futurepublications. If this is the first issue of Aware you've read, earlier editionscan be requested via email or by returning the form on the back page ofthis issue and online.

ACSSA Publications

As there are so few forums in which those working in the field can share informationwith one another, we are very keen to accept articles for publication within thenewsletter (we now accept articles up to 5000 words). News of conferences, training,research projects, book reviews and the like are also welcomed (up to 1500words). If you would like to contribute an article or review to ACSSA Aware, you canaccess our "contributor's guidelines" from the website or contact ACSSA directly.

Access our online Good Practice Database.


Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC)

Good practice criteria:

•Has a clearly defined conceptual framework
•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Positions diversity as key to the development, understanding and delivery of good practice models
•Contributes to improving systems’ responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (i.e. other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)
•Aims for postgraduate training for all service providers
•Established a system for clinical peer review and quality assurance

The Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC) service is co-located within Canberra SexualHealth Centre at the Canberra Hospital. FAMSAC is an ongoing, multi-faceted new program serving theAustralian Capital Territory and nearby New South Wales centres.

The primary aim of FAMSAC is to provide high quality forensic and medical care to people who haveexperienced sexual assault. Staff strive to provide evidenced-based forensic and medical care to victims,while treating survivors and those supporting them with compassion and respect. This includes allowingpeople to choose the gender of the examining medical practitioner, as well as providing streamlined therapeuticand forensic medical procedures with appropriate follow-up.

All forensic, medical treatment and counselling services are available to victims at their initial contact withthe health system. This means that clients who have experienced sexual assault undergo only one intimatephysical examination with counselling support offered by the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. Part of FAMSACstaff's commitment to good clinical practice and the implementation of evidence-based practice is throughthe provision of medical and forensic care combined with counselling services, and in initiating follow-up ofclients within 48 hours of the initial consultation and, with consent, to follow them up until 12 weeks. Todate, FAMSAC has supported 323 individuals following sexual assault.

Clinical services are supported by pamphlets on "forensic evidence", "rape-related pregnancy", "copingafter sexual assault", "supporting a woman after sexual assault", "information for parents whose teenagehas experienced sexual assault/rape", "supporting a man after sexual assault", and a pamphlet on "yourrights". These resources are based on those developed by staff from Yarrow Place in South Australia.

In addition to providing clinical services FAMSAC offers the community and other service providersawareness and education programs. FAMSAC clinicians have presented aspects of sexual assault care andinformation on the FAMSAC service at the Australasian Sexual Health Conferences and published articlesin peer-reviewed journals. FAMSAC also offers financial support to doctors who provide clinical servicesin order for them to undertake graduate studies in forensic and sexual assault medicine.

The service is evaluated on two levels, firstly by externalstakeholders such as sexual assault and healthservices, and secondly by clients, via written evaluation followingattendance. For the stakeholder evaluation, a postal survey to allinvolved external services is undertaken annually. FAMSAC has received68 survey responses over the last three years. Comments have beenconsistent and positive. Several suggestionson ways to improve community awareness of the service have beenimplemented. For clients, ananonymous questionnaire is given to them at the 12-week follow-upvisit. On completion, this can beplaced in the drop box in the front of the clinic or posted for returnto the service. Sixty five questionnaireshave been completed over the past three years. Data from thesequestionnaires has again beenpositive and used to improve the service. A comprehensive report on thepast three years of service isavailable from FAMSAC (for contact details see table on page 13 and 14).


Rape Crisis Online

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

Rape Crisis Online is a therapeutic-response program for victims of sexual assault. It offers an alternativeway for callers to access New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre counsellors by providing a real time, online,person-to-person crisis intervention service accessed via the Centre's website. The project started in April2005 and the Internet site will go live in July 2005 at: http://www.nswrapecrisis.com.au/. The program'starget group is women and children. The development of Rape Crisis Online has been based on the experiencesof the existing online component of Kids Helpline Australia and the New South Wales Rape CrisisCentre telephone service. Kids Helpline is an early intervention service, and three per cent of their onlinecontacts are considered crisis contacts. Sexual assault is considered a crisis contact.

Research indicates that young people feel comfortable in an online environment, so it is envisaged thatthis project will increase access to counselling particularly for young people. Additionally the family computeris usually situated in a more private part of the house rather than the living area where thetelephone, and the rest of the family, are often located.

Online access will be for one to two contacts only, after which callers will be encouraged to make telephonecontact with the service. Online contact gives the person the opportunity to "check the Centreout" before committing to the more personal voice-to-voice contact. Information will be provided andcounsellors will encourage callers to overcome the shame, fear and other barriers many victims experienceand to seek the help they have a right to.

As with all New South Wales Rape Crisis Centre services, Rape Crisis Online is based on feminist principlesand aims to be holistic, empowering, accountable and accessible. The Centre operates from a traumaresponse model. The project has been developed specifically to increase access to counselling services.

One way in which the Rape Crisis Online service reflects good practice is by taking into account contemporaryresearch and practice developments in the field of sexual assault. Research indicates that 65 per cent ofpeople under 25 years use the Internet as their first source of information gathering in relation to health. RapeCrisis Online builds on the 25,000 plus hits to the Centre's website by providing a way for visitors to makecontact directly with a counsellor. It also includes a process of accountability and evaluation, in that an internalevaluation has been planned with measures of success being assessed according to the following criteria:

  • An increase in the number of callers who make contact for the first time;
  • An increase in the number of callers who indicate they may speak with Police;
  • Number of callers who indicate they would not have made initial contact by phone; and
  • Service user feedback.


Respect Relate Stop Rape

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Positions diversity as key to the development, understanding and delivery of good practice models
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation

"Respect Relate Stop Rape" is an ongoing community awareness/education program in the Casuarinalocal community in the Northern Territory. It is run by the Ruby Gaea Darwin Centre Against Rape andtargets young women and men in Years 9 to 10 of high school. The program operates over four in-schoolsessions and aims to empower young people to break the silence around sexual violence. It givesparticipants the knowledge and skills to better understand sexual violence and to stay safe.

The program is for Year 9 to 10 students in schools, and is conducted by two outside facilitators. Thestudents are divided into same-sex groups for the first three sessions, with a mixed boys and girls groupfor the final session.

The logo for 'Respect Relate Stop Rape' was designed in consultationwith young people. It is circular and ininterconnected like learning, and thereis an opening for change.

respect relate stop rape logo

The program aims to:

  • Support young people to break the silence that surrounds sexual violence;
  • Raise young people's awareness and understanding of the social context of sexual violence;
  • Help young people to recognise sexual violence and promote the values and skills to help stay safe; and
  • To promote support structures so young people can get help when they need it.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Create a climate of trust and empowerment;
  • Encourage participation from students;
  • Develop student understanding of what sexual violence is and its long and short-term effects;
  • Provide strategies for recognising sexual violence and develop skills in building healthy relationships, keeping safe and accessing appropriate support; and
  • Provide referrals for getting information, help and support.

The program is grounded in feminist philosophy and informed byfeminist practice. Inherent to the program's design is the idea thatfeminist philosophy and practice is vitally relevant to young menand women.

The program uses the traditional tools of social deconstruction and gives them contemporary relevance.The success of the program relies on the young people feeling safe and supported. It aims to create anenvironment where young people are free to examine and to challenge the relationship betweengender, power and violence.

The original program was 12 months in development and extensively researched. In 2003 it wasindependently evaluated by a youth worker using action research, in consultation with facilitators whodelivered the program, participating schools, teachers and students. The method used was a writtenevaluation following attendance. Feedback on each session was given by students and by facilitators.The data gathered was used to inform the redesign of the program to what it is today. Evaluation isongoing and reflective to ensure it meets the needs of the target group.


Resource book: "Working with young women who self harm"

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Has a clearly defined conceptual framework
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

In 2003, Zig Zag Young Women's Resource Centre developed this book, entitled "Working with YoungWomen who Self Harm", to serve as a resource for counsellors and other sexual assault workers. Theauthors discuss concepts for workers supporting young women who self-harm and offer guidelines for thegroup setting. The book explores the use of the Buddhist notion of mindfulness in supporting youngwomen who self-harm. It outlines young women's understanding of self-harm and how it is used inrecovery from sexual assault. The second part of the book describes the group work process from thepreparation stage to the evaluation stage. The therapy model that has been incorporated into the groupworkis "dialectical behaviour therapy", based on the work of Marsha Lineham, information on which isincluded in the book. This therapy is based on Buddhist meditation and practices, and understandings ofthe mind. The therapy has been evaluated in the United States and has been found to be useful for workwith people diagnosed with "borderline personality disorder". Dialectical behaviour therapy is now usedin psychiatric institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom.

zigzag graphic

The objective of this resource is to guide counsellors and others in working in a nonharmful,non-judgemental and understanding manner with young women. Thebook provides guidelines as to what are helpful or unhelpful responses to selfharm,and provides guidance on the self-care and self-knowledge of the counsellorherself.

The philosophies underpinning this resource, which are also the philosophies bywhich Zig Zag operates, are that of social justice and feminism. These philosophies arearticulated strongly throughout the resource, both in the explanations of the processof group work, and also during the critiques of the traditional and more recent medicalpractices used in work with young women who self harm. The authors recognisethe link between violence, abuse, oppression and marginalisation with self-harm,and articulate this link throughout the book. The authors also recognise that manyconventional/medical responses to young women who self harm are not helpful, inthat they often attempt to spontaneously halt the self-harm from occurring withoutassisting the young women to find other ways to cope.

The second part of the book describes the group work process from the preparation stage to the evaluationstage, thus enabling its replication by other counsellors or group workers/leaders. The group-worktherapy based on the resource book, is evaluated following attendance through written questionnaires.

Rather than rely on textbooks that are written purely from the 'professionals' point of view, the authorsof this book reflect back what young women, and their own practices and experiences, have told themworks and is useful or not useful in a counselling context. This knowledge is used to underpin the groupworkprocess outlined.

Throughout the guide the authors emphasise the need for self-reflective practice, as well as the need torespect young women's own choices regarding their healing process. It highlights the need to work in away that acknowledges and addresses diversity, and to work with individuals rather than "symptoms". Itmakes a distinction between self-harm and suicidal behaviours, and emphasises the importance of thisdistinction.


Sharing community education campaigns: postcard and bus advertisements

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

Women's Health Statewide and Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service are running a two-partcommunity awareness and education campaign on childhood sexual assault.

The first is a "Postcard Campaign", which will take place throughout South Australia in 2005 and is basedon the "Truthaboutrape" postcard campaign previously run in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Thepostcard campaign is being coordinated by Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service and Women'sHealth Statewide as part of the new Children, Youth and Women's Health Service in South Australia.

The second part is an Adelaide-metro "Bus Campaign", which started in January 2003 and was developedas part of Women's Health Statewide's activities for the international "16 Days of Activism Against GenderViolence". 1 Both parts of the campaign use a dandelion image, which was chosen as it evokedmemories of making childlike wishes, and blowing spores as an indication of the passing of time.

The target group for both parts of the campaign is the general community, including adult survivors, malevictims, Indigenous people, people from a diverse range of cultures, people with disabilities, rural populations,service providers, criminal justice and police personnel, and offenders. The bus campaign islimited to Adelaide, and the postcard campaign will cover the whole of South Australia. Both parts of thecampaign are based on a philosophy incorporating a feminist view of the rape victim's rights approachand an understanding of the barriers associated with disclosing sexual assault.

A 36-page evaluation of the campaign is available from Yarrow Place (contact details are in the table onpage 15). The evaluation criteria that was used measured:

  • Demand and distribution for posters and postcards;
  • Creation of an identity (for example, identification of the dandelion image); and
  • Anecdotal stories from workers.
post cards

An unexpected outcome was discovered when an evaluation wasundertaken with survivor groups: that of the positive therapeuticimpact of the community campaign on women in the groups.Therefore, although the general community was the target group,women and men in the community who have been subjected to sexualabuse during childhood would be expected to benefit. With this inmind, the program developers aimed to be accountable to the generalpublic but ultimately to the women and men it sought to support.

Postcard campaign

The postcards were developed by the United Kingdom "Truthaboutrape" campaignto expose the truth about rape in an imaginative and thought-provokingway. They use humour and "shock tactics" to stimulate and challenge people'sperceptions and assumptions about rape. All postcards consist of a pair ofmyths followed by the "strap-line", for example:

"It's surprising what some people still believe" . . . followed by a "truth-line" or "fact-line".

The final truth-line on the cards read:

  • Truth: Women of all ages, backgrounds and races get raped
  • Truth: Men are responsible for whether they rape or not
  • Truth: Rape is always a crime - whether he's a relative, friend, acquaintance or stranger
  • Truth: Women are raped every day in this country
  • Truth: Men who rape lie about it
  • Truth: Rape is a form of control not a loss of control

The objective is to adapt and/or further develop postcards from the United Kingdom "Truthaboutrape"campaign to a South Australian context.

Bus campaign

The objectives of the bus campaign were: firstly, to develop, design and promote with key stakeholdersan advertising campaign that elevates the level of consciousness in the general community about theprevalence of childhood sexual abuse using the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence" internationalcampaign as a platform; and secondly, to build the capacity of the community to respondappropriately to disclosures made by adults subjected to sexual abuse during childhood.

In order to achieve these objectives, Women's Health Statewide and Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual AssaultService decided to:

  • develop and design an advertisement to be displayed on Adelaide buses over the "16 Days ofActivism Against Gender Violence";
  • develop and design posters to be available to organisations and others in the community;
  • create a logo or symbol to be used as a representation for adults subjected to sexual abuse during childhood;
  • hold a launch to draw the media, departmental and political decision makers to the campaign, which will include a speech by a well-known South Australian personality;
  • develop an "Avant Card" postcard to be distributed to community areas (cafes, cinemas and retail outlets); and
  • develop, design and promote a pamphlet for partners, family members and friends of adults subjected to sexual abuse during childhood.

The aim of the Adelaide bus campaign was to link with the international "16 Days of Activism AgainstGender Violence", in order to raise community consciousness of the prevalence of adults subjected tosexual abuse during childhood, as well as highlight the importance of listening to and believing adultswhen they disclose sexual abuse that occurred in childhood. The slogans used were:

One in three women are survivors of childhood sexual abuse; we are your grandmothers, mothers, sisters,daughters, partners, cousins, friends . . .
Listen, believe, make our journey easier . . .

One in six men are survivors of childhood sexual abuse; we are your grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sons,partners, cousins, friends . . .
Listen, believe, make our journey easier . . .

The campaign was important and unique in that it was the first awareness-raising event in the world tofocus on the experiences of adults subjected to sexual abuse during childhood.


NOTE 1: The "16 Days ofActivism Against Gender Violence" Campaign was a highly successfulcollaborative venture between government andnon-government organisations to raise awareness of the prevalence ofadults who have been subjected to childhood sexual abuse andthe importance of listening and believing adults who have beensubjected to sexual abuse during childhood when they disclose. [back]


Kids Quest Project

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Has a clearly defined conceptual framework
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

The Tasmanian Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) developed "Kids Quest" as both a community awareness/education program and a therapeutic-response program for child victim/survivors of sexual assault. Theprogram's target group are children and parent/carers in the Hobart area. SASS is currently running a trial, tobe completed by 30 June 2005, which will inform the development of the program for 2005-2006.

Research on the outcomes for children victim/survivors of sexual assault who do not access counselling/group work interventions indicates that ongoing developmental, behavioural and emotionalproblems are common. The effects on relationship and parenting skills when children become adultsmeans that the repercussions of child sexual abuse may become inter-generational. The outlook for achild with unresolved sexualised behaviours is especially poor.

The Kids Quest program aims to:

  • break down the isolation experienced by children, parents/carers, and families as a result of childsexual abuse;
  • provide informational and support programs for parents/carers so that they are better equipped to support their children and themselves;
  • decrease the risk of children who have been subjected to sexual abuse from being further victimised through promotion of resilience, age-appropriate self-efficacy and pro-social skills;
  • address the effects of traumatic experience on children who have been abused; and
  • provide early intervention for children displaying sexualised behaviours, especially those at risk of offending against others.

The Kids Quest program is taking a consciously constructionist/narrative approach, and isincorporating other modalities when appropriate. For example, the program incorporates interventionsfrom Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy where behaviour-change is a key objective; Attachment Therapywhere disrupted primary attachment is a central issue for the child; and Solution-Oriented Therapy forproblem-solving interventions.

Narrative therapy is regarded by SASS as a valuable standpoint in this work. Constructionist philosophyunderstands that, for human beings, making sense of experiences of the world is mediated throughlanguage (cognition). It is by "telling the story" of an event that people come to make meaning of it. Howwe tell the story reflects and informs our emotional response. Cognitive and emotional narratives arecentral to how an individual perceives their world and their place in it. Changing a negative narrative to apositive narrative may enhance all aspects of self-image. For children especially, story-telling is a keylearning mechanism and SASS is seeking to use vehicles for therapy that are already familiar to children.

The Kids Quest program is composed of two parts - therapeutic group work for children, andinformation group work for parents/carers.

Therapeutic group work for children

The program recognises that all children are not the same. Over the long term, through thedevelopment of a range of groups the program aims to address, for example, the differing needs of boysand girls; the needs and developmental capacities of children at different ages; different cultural valuesand interests of minority communities; children displaying sexualised behaviours; children who havebeen severely traumatised; and needs of sibling groups (whether or not all have been subject to abuse).

The program also recognises a number of contra-indications that may militate against group work for anindividual child. For example, the presence of psychosis or other mental illness; significant developmentaldelay; the likelihood of Court action; and the ability of an individual child to participate, at thattime, in a particular group. The program trial (March to June 2005) involves 6 weekly sessions of groupwork for eight girls aged 7 to 11 years. The group will be run on two successive occasions and will take amainly "narrative" approach.

Anticipated outcomes include:

  • normalised responses to the experience of abuse;
  • increased self-esteem, self-efficacy and problem solving ability; and
  • breaking down of isolation, reduction of estrangement from peers and develop pro-social skills.

Information group work for parents/carers

Parents/carers are also involved in the children's group work in a number of ways since SASS seeks to locatethe benefits of group work and counselling in the main arena of a child's life. Parents/carers are invited toa preliminary information session where SASS explains the work of the group and discuss ways primarycaregivers can be involved and assist their child. This includes supporting the child with a weekly "Quest".For the final session of the group, parents/carers are invited to celebrate the conclusion of the group andthe children have the opportunity to share the outcomes of the group with the adults, in a non-threateningway.

The program trial involves three weekly sessions of group work for parents, carers and others having asignificant care-taking role for children who have been sexually abused. The group will be run on twosuccessive occasions and is taking a cognitive approach. Several models will be explored forunderstanding the child's experience and needs, and for promoting wellbeing in the parents/carers. Atherapeutic group program is anticipated for the future.

The program recognises a number of contra-indications that may mean group work is not appropriatefor an individual adult. These include mental illness, the degree of traumatisation of the adult, and afamily being in a crisis stage.

Anticipated outcomes include:

  • breaking down isolation experienced by parents and carers following disclosure of child sexualabuse;
  • increased knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of perpetration and of victimisation;
  • increased understanding of the ways children respond to the experience of sexual abuse and to the repercussions of disclosure;
  • increased knowledge and understanding of appropriate responses to the needs of a child who has been sexually abused; and
  • understanding processes and responsibilities involved in Family Court, Child Protection, police and other systems.

Kids Quest is building on the ideas and findings of previous work in this area. Consultation with othersworking in this area has been invaluable, and strategies have been developed to fit the local situation.Good practice elements include:

  • development of group work modules that respect and address the needs of children based oncharacteristics such as sex, age, culture, degree of traumatisation, whether the perpetrator was maleor female;
  • recognition of the confidentiality of a child's experience - in group work, parents/carers are discouraged from disclosing non-essential, personal information about their child;
  • the use of a variety of therapeutic modalities rather than reliance on one;
  • challenging the stigma of sexual abuse and normalising responses to it;
  • taking a no-blame approach with children and carers, and recognising survival strategies as skills and strengths not weaknesses;
  • an evaluation strategy that is quantitative and qualitative, that uses formal and informal mechanisms, and that examines many aspects of the program: results of evaluation will be used dynamically to inform the refinement and further development of the program and, hopefully, can inform the wider debate regarding group work and other therapeutic interventions in the field of child sexual abuse.


CASA Forum Inc.

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Positions diversity as key to the development, understanding and delivery of good practice models
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Has a clearly defined conceptual framework
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

The Victorian CASA Forum Inc is the peak body of the state's 15 Centres Against Sexual Assault, and theVictorian Sexual Assault Crisis Line (After Hours). It started in 1987 and is ongoing.

Together, members of CASA Forum work to ensure that women, children and men who are victim/survivors of sexual assault have access to comprehensive and timely support and intervention to addresstheir needs. They also work towards the elimination of sexual violence through community and professionaleducation, informing government policy, advocating for law reform and facilitating research toincrease community understanding of the nature and incidence of sexual assault. In addition to therapeutic-response programs and victim/survivor advocacy, CASA's services also provide communityawareness/education programs, service provider training, and training for community groups.

The Forum promotes a close working relationship with mutual respect and understanding between services,which allows for the provision of a 24-hour statewide service system, clear catchment areas, jointpriorities, a unified voice with funding bodies, and the opportunity for discussion to ensure informedpolicy and practice. It also facilitates continuing education for workers in the field through thecounsellor/advocates forum and occasional workshops and forums.

The Forum has provided representation and input on every key working group and advisory body thathave addressed the issue of legal, policy and social reform for sexual assault in Victoria since its inception.It has also produced two publications: the Victorian Standards of Practice for Centres Against Sexual Assault,and Where Can I Go to If I Am Sexually Assaulted? The latter is available in 7 languages and there is also aversion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Forum reflects good practice through various initiatives, such as:

  • The introduction in 2004 of a single 1800 number across the state which provides access to theclosest regional CASA during business hours and the Sexual Assault Crisis Line after hours. Thisfacilitates promotion of a single contact number for access to services across the state and avoids thesituation of the victim/survivor having to guess which CASA to contact.
  • The establishment of the Sexual Assault Crisis Line (after hours) in 1991. Originally called TelSASA (Telephone Service Against Sexual Assault), the service was established to provide a minimum of universal access to counselling, information and referral across the state and act as a back up after hours support to the 15 regional CASAs. It provides a single point of access after hours to crisis care for victim/survivors of recent sexual assault for the nine services across the state that provide an after hours service. This ensures easy access and early intervention at the point of crisis for victim/survivors, police and others affected by, or charged with the responsibility of responding to, sexual assault.
  • The development of the Victorian Standards of Practice for Centres Against Sexual Assault which have been recognised as setting a benchmark for the provision of counselling and advocacy for victim/survivors of sexual assault in Victoria.

The Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault Forum is committed to addressing all inequalities withinsociety that result in the perpetration of sexual violence against women, children and men.

The Victorian CASA Forum therefore acknowledges that:

  1. Sexual assault is both a consequence and a reinforcer of the power disparity existing between men andwomen/children.
  2. Sexual assault occurs along a continuum of violent behaviour which includes: any uninvited sexual behaviour which makes the recipient feel uncomfortable, harassed or afraid; unwanted touching or remarks; sexual harassment; coerced sexual activity; and rape with physical violence and threat to life.
  3. The impact of sexual assault on the lives of victim/survivors is multi-faceted and complex. It includes emotional, social, psychological, legal, health and political consequences.
  4. In order to facilitate a victim/survivor's recovery from sexual violence, the Forum recognises the importance of responding to each aspect in an appropriate and effective manner.
  5. The impact of sexual assault can be compounded by factors relating to the stratification of society by gender, culture, race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, religion, ability and socio-economic class.

Consistent with the above knowledge is the belief that:

  • sexual assault is a crime against the individual and society;
  • the entire community and all tiers of government need to recognise and respond to its occurrence and take action to work towards its elimination;
  • all CASAs must work toward the empowerment of service users, through the adoption of a service management (victims' rights advocacy) model where the focus of service provision must be on recent and past victim/survivors of sexual assault;
  • within this model service users are offered: choices and information about the services; help with looking at their options; and support in making informed choices and decisions in regards to the systems with which they will come into contact; and
  • the experience and resulting needs of victim/survivors of sexual assault must influence the scope and direction of services provided by CASAs.


Workshop: "Another Layer of Trauma"

Good practice criteria:

•Takes account of contemporary research and practice developments in the field of sexual assault
•Positions diversity as key to the development, understanding and delivery of good practice models
•Contributes to improving systems' responses to sexual assault, or is directed at preventing sexual assault
•Demonstrates a sensitivity towards the barriers faced by victim/survivors in disclosing and reporting sexual assault
•Has a clearly defined conceptual framework
•Includes processes of accountability and evaluation
•Demonstrates a capacity for replication (that is, other services/organisations could adapt/re-model the program for their use)

The Perth Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) developed a full-dayworkshop, entitled "Another Layerof Trauma". It is run by Dorinda Cox (Aboriginal Liaison Officer atSARC) and Helen Milroy (Helen Milroy, an Aboriginal woman andpsychiatrist who works with children and adolescents).

The workshop focuses on the traumatic impact of sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities. It analyses anddiscusses this in the context of the multiple layers of trauma, both historical and current, that Aboriginalpeople have experienced. This validates the experience of Aboriginal people, and recognises the historicalissues of dispossession and assimilation that Aboriginal people have suffered. It also enables non-Aboriginalpeople to be aware of the layers of trauma that may exist for Aboriginal people, especially victim/survivorsof sexual assault and abuse. These layers of trauma cannot be underestimated when working with Aboriginalclients, and the workshop serves in this aspect as service-provider training on the issues and the level ofsensitivity required. Implications in terms of dealing with sexual abuse are specifically explored.

The workshop can be held in local communities, urban or regional centres. Its target groups are Indigenouscommunities and service providers. As a good practice program it is multi-faceted. First, theworkshop functions as a community awareness/education program on historical and current issues of dispossessionand assimilation that create multiple layers of trauma for Aboriginal people. Second, it servesas a training program for service providers, increasing sensitivity to these layers of trauma and providingadvice on dealing with this in the context of sexual assault. Finally, the workshop offers the possibility ofa therapeutic response for victim/survivors of sexual abuse and other trauma, with evaluation feedbackindicating victim/survivors felt their experiences were articulated, validated and respected.

The workshop draws on research by Carol Thomas (1993) in Sexual Assault: Issues for Aboriginal Women,as well as by Jane Lloyd and Nanette Rogers (1993) in Crossing the Last Frontier: Problems Facing AboriginalWomen Victims of Rape in Central Australia.

The initial workshop ran in September 2004, drawing 50 participants, and another was planned for April2005. Evaluation of the program is external, with written evaluations by participants following workshopattendance. All evaluations received at the last workshop were overwhelmingly positive about the impactof the workshop.


Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Forensic andMedical SexualAssault Care(FAMSAC)
Program funding:Australian CapitalTerritory Health
Forensic and Medical SexualAssault Care (FAMSAC)
Building 5 Level 1Canberra HospitalCanberra 2606 ACT
Cassandra Beaumont-BrownClinical Nurse CoordinatorPh: (02) 6244 2184Fax: (02) 6285 3395
Pamphlets :
  • FAMSAC Informationpamphlets are available at:http://health.act.gov.au/sexualhealth.
  • Forensic evidence.
  • Rape-related pregnancy.
  • Coping after sexual assault.
  • Supporting a woman after sexual assault.
  • Information for parents who's teenage has experienced sexual assault/rape.
  • Supporting a man after sexual assault.
  • Your rights.
  • Sexual Assault Symposium/Australasian SexualHealth ConferenceChristchurch 2003.
  • Sexual Assault Medicine from Scratch: Forensic education program.
  • Sexual Assault Symposium /Australasian Sexual Health Conference Christchurch 2003. Strong Foundations a Nurse Coordinator.
  • Sexual Assault Symposium /Australasian Sexual Health Conference Adelaide 2004 Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Clinicians Australia.
  • Mein JK, Palmer CM, Shand MC, Templeton DJ, Parekh V. (2003), "Management of acute adult sexual assault" Med J Aust, vol. 178, no. 5, pp. 226-230.
  • Parekh V, Beaumont Brown C. (2003), "Follow up of patients who have been recently sexually assaulted", Sex Transm Infect, vol. 79, p. 349.
  • Parekh V. (2004), A taboo topic for dinner conversation, (eds) Tang S, Ding J, Annual Publication of the Australian Chinese Medical Association Inc. Ivy Printing, Victoria, p.56.
  • Parekh V, Currie M, and Beaumont Brown C. (2005), "A postgraduate sexual assault medicine program: Sexual assault medicine from scratch", Science Medicine and the Law, vol. 44, no. 2 (Accepted for publication).
  • Parekh V., "Responding To Sexual Assault- Medico legal services in the ACT", The Key to Closing the Gap, The Canberra Hospital (June 2002, Aug 2003 Aug 2004).
Conference papers:
  • Sexual Assault Satellite Symposium, Perth2002 Parekh V. Case presentation.
  • Sexual Assault Satellite Symposium, Adelaide 2004 Parekh V, Martin S, Tyson A, Beaumont-Brown C. Case presentations.
  • Sexual Assault Satellite Symposium, Adelaide 2004 Parekh V and Brennan P. The Great Debate: Should photographs of genital injures be taken.
A postal survey to allinvolved external servicesis undertaken annually.Comments have beenconsistent and extremelypositive with suggestionson improving communityawareness of the service.This was acted on.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Rape Crisis Online
Program funding:
  • New South WalesLaw and JusticeFoundation
  • New South Wales Department of Health
  • National Rugby League (NRL)
  • Private donations
New South Wales RapeCrisis Centre
P.O. Box 555Drummoyne 2047 NSW

Karen Willis ManagerPh: (02) 9819 7357Fax: (02) 9819 6295
Rape Crisis Online will be up and running in July 2005. The service will be promoted once staffing has been finalised.
Research indicates that young people feelcomfortable in an online environment.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2000), Use ofthe internet by householders, August 2000,catalogue no. 8147, ABS, Canberra.
Better Health Channel, Health information onthe internet, Victorian Government.
Evaluation has not yetbeen completed, but aninternal evaluation isplanned along thefollowing criteria:
  • an increase in thenumber of callers whomake contact for thefirst time;
  • an increase in the number of callers who indicate they may speak with Police;
  • number of callers who indicate they would not have made initial contact by phone; and
  • service user feedback.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Respect RelateStop Rape
Program funding:Northern TerritoryDepartment ofHealth andCommunity Services
Ruby Gaea Darwin CentreAgainst Rape
PO Box 42082
Casuarina 0811 NT
(No website)
Naomi BrennanCoordinatorPh: (08) 89450155Fax: (08) 89452783rubygaea@octa4.net.au
Schools education program. The program is grounded in feministphilosophy and informed by feminist practice.It uses the traditional tools of socialdeconstruction and gives them acontemporary relevance.
The program was initially trialled usingexternal action research by a youth worker inconsultation with facilitators who deliveredthe program, participating schools, teachersand students. Data gathered was used toinform the redesign of the program to what itis today. Feedback on each session wasgiven from students and from facilitators.
Evaluation is ongoing andreflective to ensure it meetsthe needs of the targetgroup. It takes the form ofwritten questionnairescompleted by participantsand facilitators.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Working withyoung womenwho self harmProgram funding:
  • Queensland HealthSexual AssaultSupport andPrevention Program
  • ZONTA Club of Brisbane North
Zig Zag Young Women'sResource Centre Inc.
575 Old Cleveland RoadCamp Hill 4152 QLD
Erica FernandezSexual Assault Worker
Ph: (07) 3843 1823Fax: (07) 3398 5400
Book "Working with YoungWomen Who Self Harm" available from Zig Zagthrough phone, fax or email.
Cost $10.00.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) has beenevaluated in the United States and has beenfound to be useful for work with peoplediagnosed with "borderline personalitydisorder'. DBT is now used in psychiatricinstitutions in Australia and the UnitedKingdom. Written evaluationsfollowing attendance atworkshops based on thebook.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Sharingcommunityeducationcampaigns: Busadvertisementsand postcardadvertisements
Program funding:
Bus Campaign -South AustralianDepartment of Healthplus donations from amultiple of services,including NGOs.
Postcard Campaign -seeking support fromthe South AustralianGovernment and"Avant Cards".
Women's Health Statewide and
Yarrow Place Rape andSexual Assault Service
55 King William RdNorth Adelaide 5063 SA
Vanessa Swan Director:Yarrow Place,Ann-Marie Hayes Director:Women's Health Statewide
Ph: (08) 8226 8777
Fax: (08) 8226 8778swanv@mail.wch.sa.gov.au
"It's not my shame", Holden Evaluation

"Truthaboutrape" website
A research project was carried out inAdelaide in 2002 to explore the currentservice needs of adults subjected to childsexual abuse, which indicated that the mostunhelpful responses that survivors had todeal with in the community were disbelief orminimisation of their experience.
This research presented in the Women'sSafety Australia (Australian Bureau ofStatistics 1996) found that many women feltguilt and shame following rape because theyblamed themselves for the assault.
Evaluated by variousmethods, including:
  • demand and distributionfor posters andpostcards;
  • creation of an identity, for example, dandelion; and
  • anecdotal stories from workers.

See full evaluation report for a detailed evaluation.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources and program outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Kids Quest Project
Program funding:
Department ofHealth and HumanServices, Tasmania
Sexual Assault Support Service Inc
PO Box 217
North Hobart 7000
Karen JonesChief Executive Officer
Ph (03) 6231-1811
Fax (03) 6231-5370ceo@sass.org.au
Workshop. The Sexual Assault Support Service hasprovided its Children's Counselling Servicefor three years. The experience andunderstanding gained during this time hasbeen invaluable in directing the group workprogram.
A literature search of group programs hasbeen conducted for the pilot stage of theproject. A more extensive review of practiceand experience in Australia and elsewherewill be carried out in the development phase.
Research on the outcomes for children whodo not access counselling/group workinterventions indicates that ongoingdevelopmental, behavioural and emotionalproblems are common. The effects onrelationship and parenting skills whenchildren become adult means that therepercussions of child sexual abuse maybecome inter-generational.
For the final session of thegroup, parents/carers areinvited to celebrate theconclusion of the groupand the children have theopportunity to share theoutcomes of the groupwith the adults, in a nonthreateningway.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
CASA Forum Inc
Program funding:
Individual servicesfunded by theVictorianDepartment ofHuman Services
CASA House
270 Cardigan Street
Carlton 3053 VIC

Marg D'Arcy / HelenMakregiorgos
Ph: (03) 9347 3066marg.darcy@rwh.org.au
Service network, and CASA forum website Publications:
  • Victorian Standards of Practice for CentresAgainst Sexual Assault.
  • Where Can I Go to If I Am Sexually Assaulted? Available in seven languages and a version for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Informal feedback fromservices.
Initiative/program andfunding Contact details Resources andprogram outcomes Informing research Evaluation
Another Layer ofTrauma
Program funding:
Western AustralianDepartment ofHealth
Sexual Assault ResourceCentre
PO Box 842,Subiaco 6902 WANo website
Dorinda CoxAboriginal Liaison Officer
Ph: (08) 9340 1820
Fax: (08) 9340 1815dorinda.cox@health.wa.gov.au
Workshop. Thomas, Carol (1993), "Sexual Assault:Issues for Aboriginal Women", in P.W. Easteal(ed.), Without consent: confronting adultsexual violence; proceedings of a conferenceheld, 27-29 October 1992. Canberra, ACT:Australian Institute of Criminology, 1993,pp. 139-147.

Lloyd, Jane and Rogers, Nanette (1993),"Crossing the Last Frontier: Problems facingAboriginal Women Victims of Rape in CentralAustralia", in P.W. Easteal (ed.), Withoutconsent: confronting adult sexual violence;proceedings of a conference held, 27-29October 1992, Canberra, Australian Instituteof Criminology, pp. 149-164.
Written evaluationsfollowing attendance. Allevaluations received werevery positive and there arecurrently 80 peopleregistered for the nextworkshop in April 2005.


ACSSA Good Practice Database

ACSSA has a number of other Good Practice programs featured on the ACSSA Good Practice online Datatbase. We are always inviting Submissions or suggestions to build the database.


ACSSA Publications


Issues Paper Number 4

The law and sexual offences against adults in AustraliaThis issues paper aims to provide a plain language account of thecurrent status of the law relating to key penetrative sexualoffences against adults in Australia..It also aims to outline the legalissues relating to some parts of the law of evidence whichhave significant impacts upon procedures in sexual offence trials andon victim-complainants’ experiences in court..It seeksto provide an accessible introduction to the current status of the lawsgoverning sexual offences to allow sexual assault workers,counsellors and victim-complainants to more readily understand therelevant criminal law..In doing so, it aims tosupplement existing guides which provide support and information aboutgoing to court as a complainant witness in a sexualoffence trial.

Briefing Paper Number 5

Trafficking in Women for Sexual Exploitation:Recent years have seen many changes in international and nationalresponses to, and legislation on, trafficking in persons. In this paperwe review someof the theoretical approaches to trafficking for the purposes of sexualexploitation, as well as legislative, policy and service responses.Weaim to providean overview of recent developments and navigate the varied and oftenopposing modes of analysis surrounding the issue. ACSSA intends thispaper toserve as an informative resource for services, policy makers andresearchers on the subject of trafficking in women for sexualexploitation in Australia.

ACSSA Aware 8

Feature: Prevention of Sexual Assault:Working with Adolescents within the Education SystemAware 8 includes a feature article that focuses on preventing andresponding to the sexual assault of young people. The article reflectson pastsexual assault prevention initiatives with young women and men, andconsiders these in the light of the changes in adolescent behaviourreportedin the Sex in Australia study. There is also an overview ofstate/territory-based policies covering sexual assault, and a number ofupdates fromaround the sector, including a discussion of the report, A Fair Chance,on proposals for sexual assault law reform in New South Wales.


Issues Papers

Home Truths: A Conference in Review Issues Paper Number 3: March 2005
This Issues Paper provides a review of some of the major themes andissues that emerged during the recent Home Truths Conference held inMelbourne on September 15-17, 2004. The paper aims to convey the hum ofideas that were expressed and challenged throughout the threedays.We aim to highlight how delegates variously responded to new ideasor challenges, and to consolidate what areas participants say areobviousnext steps for governments, policy workers, service providers andcommunities to extend their collective efforts.

Mapping Health Sector and Interagency Protocols on Sexual Assault Issues Paper Number 2: March 2005
In response to broad enquiry from sexual assault services aroundAustralia this ACSSA Issues Paper looks at the range of formal healthsector protocols that currently exist to guide service responses tovictim/survivors of sexual assault, throughout Australia's differentstates and territories. The specific protocols reviewed here tend to bethose that guide interaction between medical, counselling and policeservices who respond to sexual assault in terms of crisis care and,sometimes, beyond.

Just "Keeping the Peace" - A Reluctance to Respond to Male Partner Sexual Violence Issues Paper Number 1: March 2004
The first ACSSA Issues Paper examines the issue of male partner sexualviolence through considering: the historical and contemporary legaltreatment of male partner sexual violence; current gaps in researchingthe incidence and prevalence of male partner sexual violence; thedifficulties women face in recognising or naming their experience ofsexual violence by a male partner as rape; the impact and consequencesof sexual violence on women's physical health and emotional well-being;and the reluctance of support services to respond to the specific issueof sexual violence by male intimates.

Briefing Papers

Sexual Assault and Family Violence in Indigenous Communities:Walking the Talk Briefing Paper 4: September 2004
ACSSA's fourth Briefing Paper looks at family violence and sexualassault in Indigenous communities. It provides a brief overview ofstate and federalpolicies on Indigenous family violence and reviews a number of relevantdocuments on sexual assault. The Briefing Paper also provides aliterature review and contains "snapshot" interviews with a number ofIndigenous and non-Indigenous sexual assault service providers aboutthedevelopments that are happening in their communities to address sexualassault.

Responding to Sexual Assault in Rural Communities Briefing Paper 3: June 2004
The third briefing paper looks at many of the problems faced by ruralcommunities in responding to sexual assault, which mirror those thatconfront victims and service providers who live in cities. However,responding to issues of isolation, the levels of rural conservatism,and the denial of sexual assault within rural communities remainsdistinct. Beyond "Drink Spiking": Drug and Alcohol Facilitated SexualAssault Briefing Paper 2: November 2003 The second Briefing Papercritically examines a very topical area in the sexual assault field:the issue of drink spiking. The paper seeks to situate the problem ofdrink spiking in the broader context of drug and alcohol facilitatedsexual assault.

What Lies behind the Hidden Figure of Sexual Assault? Issues of Prevalence and Disclosure Briefing Paper 1: September 2003
The first Briefing Paper looks at the hidden prevalence of sexualassault and considers how the experiences of victim/survivors of sexualassault are even less visible if they speaking from the position ofbeing homeless, or as victims whose first language is not English, orwhere they were assaulted as children.


ACSSA Aware 6: May 2005 Feature: Sexual Assault and Mental Health in Australia
Aware 6 includes a feature article that looks at the relationshipbetween mental health and sexual assault, both in terms of how sexualassault impactson women's mental health as well as looking at the vulnerability ofpeople with mental illness to sexual assault.

ACSSA Aware 5: January 2005 Feature: Sexual Offences Law and ProcedureThe feature article in Aware 5 looks at some of the major findings ofthe Final Report of the Victorian Law Reform Commission: SexualOffences Law and Procedure, released in August 2004. The Reportcontains over 201 recommendations to the Victorian Attorney-General,aimed at ensuring the criminal justice system is more responsive to theneeds of victim-complainants.

ACSSA Aware 4: September 2004 Feature: Making Rights a Reality:The Human Rights Approach to Stopping Violence Against Women
The feature article in Aware 4 examines how such conceptual changes tohuman rights may mark the beginning of a new era of human rightsactivism of greatly increased relevance to women, and looks at whatAmnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women campaign means interms of raising awareness and promoting better responses to sexualassault in Australia.

ACSSA Aware 3: February 2004 Feature: HIV/AIDS and Violence Against Women
Aware 3 honours the global campaign that marks the thirteenth year of16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women where individualsand groups around the world unite in positioning violence againstwomen, in all its forms, as a violation of human rights. The mainfeature examines the links between violence against women and HIV/AIDS.

ACSSA Aware 2: November 2003 Features: Our Chance to TackleIndigenous Family Violence and Differing Perspectives on 'Preventing'Adult Sexual Assault
Aware 2 has two main features. Thefirst is a keynote address that was delivered by Aboriginal activistand co-chair of Reconciliation Australia, Jackie Huggins at aconference in Queensland.The second article is a discussion piece thatlooks at notions of prevention in responding to adult sexual assault.

ACSSA Aware 1: September 2003 Feature: Sexual Offences Interim Report
Aware 1 introduces the aims, operations and services and services ofACSSA. The feature article outlines some of the key recommendations forlegislative change contained in the Victorian Law Reform Commission'sSexual Offences Interim Report.

For all ACSSA publications visit the Publications menu on the ACSSA website.


ACSSA Services

The Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault is funded by the Australian Government Office of the Status ofWomen, under the National Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault. ACSSA provides stakeholders with a variety ofservices (see below). ACSSA is located at the Australian Institute of Family Studies in Melbourne.


ACSSA is building a collection of publications and best practice literature,reports, and training resources to inform initiatives and programs directedat improving the understanding of, and response to, sexual assault. Thesematerials are available for browsing at the Australian Institute of FamilyStudies Information Centre, or may be borrowed through the interlibraryloan system. Bibliographic information on these resources may besearched online via the Institute's catalogue.

Advisory service

ACSSA's research staff can provide specialist advice and information,including detailed analysis and interpretation of current issues that impacton the response to sexual assault. Email research queries to acssa@aifs.gov.auor fill in the online request form.

Policy advice

ACSSA offers policy advice to the Australian Government and othergovernment agencies on matters relating to sexual assault, intervention and pathways to prevention.


ACSSA produces Issues Papers, Briefing Papers and Newsletters which are mailed free of charge to members of the mailing list. Publications can also be received electronically.

Good practice database

ACSSA is developing a Good Practice database, to document and publicisebest practice projects and activities being undertaken in relation to sexual assault.


ACSSA staff undertake primary and secondary research projects,commissioned by Government or non-government agencies.

Email alert and discussion lists

ACSSA-Alert and ACSSA-Discuss keepmembers posted on what's new at the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault and in the sexualassault field generally, and allow networking and communication amongthose working on issues related to sexual violence against women.


Contribute to ACSSA Aware

Service providers, researchers and those interested in working against sexual assault are encouraged to contribute to the ACSSA Awarenewsletter.We are interested in short reviews (no more than 1500 wordsof books, conferences, workshops and projects.We will also considermore substantial articles (no more than 3000 words) on significantissues in understanding, responding to, or preventing sexual assault.

ACSSA Aware aims to provide a lively forum for ideas, argument and comment: thus we welcome readers' letters, comments andfeedback on issues discussed in ACSSA publications.

Please email contributions in a Microsoft Word document toacssa@aifs.gov.au, or post to the Australian Centre for the Study ofSexualAssault, 300 Queen Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000.


We welcome your feedback

Help to shape the work of the Australian Centre for the Study ofSexual Assault. We are interested in hearing your views on the best wayto meet the needs of our stakeholders. If you have any comments onservices that could be offered, or possible topics for publicationsor areas of research, please fill in the online feedback form or email us at acssa@aifs.gov.au


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia