WITH the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimating approximately 1.4 million people living in Australia have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15, it is likely that you will know someone, or be that someone, who has been affected by child sexual abuse.
In the 2017 Personal Safety Survey, the bureau found 11 per cent of women and 5 per cent of men in Australia report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 and 58 per cent of those respondents report being sexually abused for the first time before the age of 10.
“Many people don’t report child sexual abuse or don’t identify as survivors for a range of reasons, similarly to domestic violence, so the actual numbers are likely to be a lot higher,” Phoenix Support & Advocacy Service executive officer Louise Lamont said.
What people may not know is that there is a specialist child sexual abuse support service for adult survivors available in Coolbinia, offering support to those directly impacted by child sexual abuse as well as (non-offending) significant others in a relationship with the survivor such as spouses, family members and friends.
Phoenix has been operating in WA for 40 years and is a not-for-profit independent secular support service providing trauma-focused counselling, support and psycho-educational therapeutic services for survivors of incest and childhood sexual abuse.
“What sets Phoenix apart from other mainstream organisations is that it is responsive to client needs by not being time-limited in terms of the number of sessions provided or by the length of time a client is accessing the service, and the approach is trauma informed and holistic,” Louise said.
“Currently the youngest clients that have attended at Phoenix were five years old and the oldest client to ever access Phoenix was 91, which in some respects is indicative of no one being too young or too old to receive support.
“However, this is also indicative of tragically how early in life therapeutic treatments sometimes need to begin and how long-lasting the devastating effects of child sexual abuse can be.”
Current funding at Phoenix provides services for survivors 18 years and older.
People can self-refer to Phoenix for counselling or be referred by other agencies, GP’s, hospitals and other professionals.
Counselling sessions are usually of 50 minutes duration and are conducted by professionally trained specialist counsellors.
Phoenix also provides neuroscience based group programs to further assist trauma recovery.
Counselling is provided for a fee (between $15 and $130) based on a sliding scale related to income.
For further information, visit www.phoenix.asn.au.