Chapter 17

Support needs and challenges

Introduction

Support services can help victim-survivors and secondary victims of historical child sexual abuse in government schools to cope with and manage the impacts of the child sexual abuse. These services can also help with the healing process.

Clause 3(e) of the Board of Inquiry’s Terms of Reference required it to inquire into, report on and make any recommendations about ‘whether there are effective support services for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools’, while having regard to ‘other inquiries and reforms that have taken place since the historical child sexual abuse occurred’.1

Pursuant to its Terms of Reference, the Board of Inquiry spoke to experts, government representatives, service providers, victim-survivors, secondary victims and affected community members about the effectiveness of support services for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools. The Board of Inquiry heard that victim-survivors have a range of support needs. It also heard that, despite there being a range of services in place, victim-survivors are experiencing barriers and challenges when trying to have their support needs met.

While some of the information received was specific to the cohort within the scope of the Terms of Reference, much of what the Board of Inquiry was told related to broader systemic issues that also affect multiple cohorts outside the scope of the Terms of Reference. These systemic issues have already been well canvassed in several reviews and inquiries over the past decade, including in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission), the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s report Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences.

This Chapter sets out the outcomes of the Board of Inquiry’s examination of the effectiveness of support services for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools. In doing so, the Chapter traverses many of the systemic issues raised through the lenses and experiences of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

Prevalence of child sexual abuse in institutional settings

Child sexual abuse is alarmingly widespread. In 2023, the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS), Australia’s first nationally representative study measuring the prevalence of child maltreatment, released its findings.2 This landmark study indicated that 28.5 per cent of the Australian population aged 16 years and older has experienced child sexual abuse.3 The ACMS stemmed from the Royal Commission, which found there was a lack of relevant national data, and recommended a study on the prevalence of child maltreatment in both institutional and non-institutional settings in Australia over time.4

The ACMS findings show that the experience of child sexual abuse is more prevalent among girls, with 37.3 per cent of girls and 18.8 per cent of boys experiencing child sexual abuse.5 The ACMS also reported that 78 per cent of people who were sexually abused as children said the abuse happened more than once.6

Further analysis of the ACMS findings indicated that 2 per cent of the population aged 16 years and older have experienced child sexual abuse in an institutional setting by a caregiver.7 The ACMS identified four classes of adult perpetrators, including ‘institutional caregivers’. This class comprised 16 types of caregivers, including school teachers and sporting coaches.8 The study did not include more detailed findings about the percentage of institutional child sexual abuse that occurred in a school or was perpetrated by a school teacher.

The prevalence of institutional child sexual abuse in Australia appears to be decreasing over time This is consonant with increasing social awareness of child sexual abuse since the mid-1990s. The decrease in child sexual abuse is particularly discernible in institutional settings.9 ACMS data illustrates this decrease. It shows that 0.5 per cent of people aged 16–24 have experienced child sexual abuse in an institution, compared to 1.2 per cent of people aged 25–44 and 2.8 per cent of people aged 45 years and older.10

Girls are more likely to experience child sexual abuse in all settings other than institutional settings. Non-institutional settings include child sexual abuse committed in the home by a parent, caregiver or sibling, by a known adult or by an unknown adult.11

Research suggests that boys are twice as likely to experience child sexual abuse in institutional settings than girls (2.7 per cent of boys compared to 1.3 per cent of girls).12 Men are also more likely to have experienced child sexual abuse in institutional settings across all age cohorts, with 0.6 per cent of men aged 16–24, 1.5 per cent of men aged 25–44, and 4.2 per cent of men aged 45 years and older having experienced child sexual abuse.13 This is compared to 0.5 per cent of women aged 16–24, 0.9 per cent of women aged 25–44, and 1.7 per cent of women aged 45 years and older having experienced child sexual abuse.14

This data suggests that there is a significant population group aged 45 years and older who reported having experienced institutional child sexual abuse.15 Within that group, there are more men than women.16

Responding to institutional child sexual abuse requires trauma-informed approaches that address the common impacts of child sexual abuse more broadly, as well as the unique aspects of experiencing such child sexual abuse in an institutional setting.

Impacts of historical institutional child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse of any kind is a devasting experience. Child sexual abuse in all its forms involves a breach of trust, and can profoundly change a person’s life course.17 It can result in lasting feelings of shame and vulnerability.18 Child sexual abuse can also affect a person’s ‘psychological and physical well-being, family and intimate relationships, faith, education and career’.19

Historical child sexual abuse in an institutional setting adds further dimensions to a victim-survivor’s experiences and the impacts the child sexual abuse may have.20 There are specific aspects of this type of sexual abuse that mean victim-survivors may experience unique impacts on their lives.21

Child sexual abuse in an institutional setting is a different type of breach of trust to other types of child sexual abuse.22 Most institutions are places of authority, and children are meant to be safe within these settings and protected by those who embody the authority of the institution. This is especially the case in schools, where communities expect that children are being cared for,23 and the very essence of the school institution is to help children to learn, grow and develop.24

Moreover, for most children, attending primary school is a matter over which they have little control. In Victoria, education is compulsory for all children.25 Most parents and carers choose to send their children to school, and the selection of primary school is ordinarily a matter for the parents or carers. Accordingly, a child who is sexually abused by a teacher would ordinarily have had little choice about being at school in the first place, and, once sexually abused, would usually have very limited options for avoiding school as a way to prevent further abuse.

Each of these different aspects of child sexual abuse in an institutional setting contributes to the different nature and impact of such child sexual abuse.

When the institutions in which child sexual abuse occurs are primary schools, victim-survivors are — at the time the child sexual abuse takes place — of an age and developmental stage that puts them at high risk of experiencing neuro-biological impacts that can have life-long consequences. Research indicates that:

young children who experience trauma are at particular risk because their rapidly developing brains are very vulnerable. Early childhood trauma has been associated with reduced size of the brain cortex. This area is responsible for many complex functions including memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thinking, language, and consciousness.26

The trauma experienced can also be compounded when the child sexual abuse is physically invasive, the child is threatened, or the child sexual abuse becomes persistent and recurs over a period of time. Developmental trauma, which occurs as a result of complex and pervasive exposure to life-threatening events during childhood development, can disrupt interpersonal attachments, compromise a person’s safety, and alter their capacity for cognitive, behavioural and emotional control.27 It also contributes to complex issues experienced in adulthood.28

As previously outlined in Chapter 7, Experiences of sexual abuse and its impact in childhood(opens in a new window) and Chapter 8, Enduring impacts of child sexual abuse(opens in a new window), victim-survivors who spoke to the Board of Inquiry shared experiences of child sexual abuse that reflected these features and impacts. Their stories mirror those told by victim-survivors of child sexual abuse to other inquiries. The Board of Inquiry heard that because of their young age, many victim-survivors were often confused by the sexual abuse that was allegedly being perpetrated against them.29 While often aware that something was wrong, most victim-survivors lacked the knowledge and language to understand and verbalise what was happening to them.30

Many victim-survivors told the Board of Inquiry that this meant they struggled to process their experiences at the time. Often, they were also trying to comprehend what had happened to them in isolation.31 While some victim-survivors were aware that other children may have gone through something similar, they did not know how to raise their own experiences or make sense of them.32 Others thought that they were the only ones who experienced child sexual abuse.33

As children, the victim-survivors had no power to change anything themselves. This was particularly the case given how children were viewed in the 1960s and 1970s, as explored in Chapter 6, Time and place(opens in a new window). The Board of Inquiry heard from some victim-survivors that when they tried to tell an adult about their experiences of child sexual abuse, they were not believed and no action was taken to protect them.34 Instead, they were left to fend for themselves.

The impact of institutional child sexual abuse often results in deep trauma. Dr Rob Gordon OAM, Clinical Psychologist and trauma expert, gave evidence that when child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a teacher, it can create a ‘deep sense of distrust for adults in positions of authority. And, of course, that’s going to undermine relationships right through the rest of their educational life’.35 This shattering of a child’s trust in their school — a place that was meant to keep them safe — has left many victim-survivors with a deep fear of other institutions and of governmental systems. This, in turn, can prevent a victim-survivor from engaging fully in the world around them, and can deter them from obtaining the help they need over their life course.

Further, where an institution does not respond appropriately to the disclosure of child sexual abuse, there can be fresh trauma or re-traumatisation. This can give rise to feelings of betrayal.36 The Board of Inquiry heard evidence from experts that the impacts of child sexual abuse in school settings can be profound and life-long, and can adversely affect many aspects of a person’s life.37 Research indicates that victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in institutions experience impacts such as ‘psychological distress, trauma symptoms … post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, personality disorders, suicidality and self-harm, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and mood disorders’.38 The experience of child sexual abuse can affect a victim-survivor’s capacity to trust people and to develop and maintain relationships, including relationships with partners, children and friends.39 Relationships may break down as a consequence of the child sexual abuse, which can lead to social isolation.40 These experiences and impacts are being increasingly acknowledged and understood over time.41

Victim-survivors and secondary victims who shared experiences of child sexual abuse with the Board of Inquiry described impacts that are consistent with this research. They included mental health struggles, experiences of complex trauma and alcohol and drug use, education and employment challenges, relationship and intimacy challenges, and feelings of shame, guilt, fear and isolation.42 Most victim-survivors who engaged with the Board of Inquiry spoke of carrying the experience of the child sexual abuse with them in silence for many decades, further compounding their trauma and their ability to seek help.43

As a result, victim-survivors may need to engage with several different types of supports to manage the impacts of historical child sexual abuse over their life course. They may require specific supports to address their needs at a particular time, and different supports at another time. Of course, a victim-survivor may also need multiple supports at once.

Insufficiently adequate support services

The Board of Inquiry found that, while there are some effective support services for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools in Victoria, the needs of this cohort are not always being met. Put another way, existing support services (looked at as a whole) are not sufficiently adequate to meet the needs of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

The Board of Inquiry’s Terms of Reference used the language of ‘effective support services’.44 However, this language was not defined. The Board of Inquiry has found it helpful to assess the effectiveness of support services by considering the following matters:

  • Ease of navigation — Can victim-survivors easily identify what services would best meet their needs? Are victim-survivors supported to navigate the range of services and systems they may need to engage with?
  • Availability — Are there are enough services to meet demand? Do the right services exist to meet the specific needs of victim-survivors?
  • Accessibility — What are the criteria or personal circumstances necessary for victim-survivors to access services? What are the costs of services for victim-survivors? Can victim-survivors easily re-engage with services when needed and can they receive the right amount of support over time?
  • Responsiveness to diverse needs — Do services understand and respond to the specific and diverse needs of victim-survivors?
  • Trauma-informed and appropriately skilled — Are services appropriately trauma-informed? Do they have the appropriate knowledge and capabilities to support victim-survivors?

The Board of Inquiry learned that there are a range of existing services and schemes in place that offer various supports to victim-survivors. Many victim-survivors spoke of having positive experiences with support services, and the Board of Inquiry received information about a number of services that undoubtedly provide important assistance to victim-survivors.

Overall, the Board of Inquiry considers that existing support services in Victoria are not always adequate to meet the needs of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools. This is so for the following key reasons:

  • lack of support to understand and navigate complex systems — which means victim-survivors may struggle to identify and access relevant supports and to navigate support services and systems
  • poor collaboration between services — which can result in victim-survivors struggling to receive coordinated support
  • limited service capacity — which can result in support being delayed, not being of sufficient duration for some victim-survivors, and being difficult to re-engage with over a person’s life course
  • system inequity — which means that some victim-survivors are not able to access help when needed, or are pushed into private services that can be unaffordable, due to limited capacity in public services
  • need for greater inclusivity — including for male victim-survivors who may have particular needs due to the gendered impact of their abuse
  • peer support service gaps — which means victim-survivors may miss out on valuable peer connection
  • limited social and relational support and support for secondary victims — which means victim-survivors’ main support networks may miss out on support
  • inadequate number of professionals skilled in responding to trauma — which means support services are not always equipped to offer the right trauma-informed support to victim-survivors.

The Board of Inquiry notes that some of the evidence about support services received from victim-survivors relates to a period of time when little support existed. As part of its analysis and findings, the Board of Inquiry has considered the reforms that have since occurred and the introduction of a range of support services.

Lack of support to understand and navigate complex systems

As outlined in Chapter 16, Where people can go for support(opens in a new window), there are a range of services that victim-survivors may seek to access in order to manage the varied impacts of child sexual abuse. These services are part of broader, intersecting systems, including the justice system, healthcare system and sexual assault support service system. Victim-survivors may also engage in a range of processes, including the National Redress Scheme, civil litigation or criminal justice pathways.

Victim-survivors often need support to understand and manage this complex landscape. For some, information about services or one-off advice may be sufficient for them to be able to identify and access what they need. Others may need more support to navigate services and systems. For those with the most complex needs, this may involve case management approaches.

Lack of clear and comprehensive information and advice

One victim-survivor told the Board of Inquiry that being able to access information and advice about available supports is important because engaging with the service systems can be ‘overwhelming for most people’.45 They noted that there is a need for ‘someone that knows what your rights are, [including] counselling [and] other forms of therapy’.46 Service providers similarly shared that it is important to give victim-survivors access to information and advice about their legal rights and processes they may wish to engage in, including around redress, civil and criminal proceedings.47 The Board of Inquiry understands that accessible and easy-to-find information is important because, while services exist, ‘the capacity to go and find these is diminished by the effects of the abuse’.48

Due to the complexity of the system, with many diverse services offering different types of support, there are numerous sources of information that victim-survivors may seek to access. A range of government and service-specific websites provide information about the various support service offerings.49 The many different sources of information can create complexity and sometimes confusion for victim-survivors.

LOUD fence Inc described how challenging it can be to try to assist victim-survivors and help them wade through the many information sources:

[I]n Victoria it is difficult to navigate the many pages on different government department websites that are set up to guide people with their many different needs when it comes to seeking support, seeking redress, reporting child sexual abuse and legal advice.50

The complexity is compounded by the fact that websites do not always provide clear guidance about what a service delivers and for whom.51 A psychologist specialising in responding to trauma and child sexual abuse told the Board of Inquiry that there is a ‘lack of transparency’ in relation to justice pathways and support options.52 They told the Board of Inquiry that this can mean both victim-survivors and professionals struggle to understand what is available, ‘making the process feel daunting and confusing for victim-survivors’.53

There are several websites and advisory services available that aim to help people to identify support services and reduce this confusion. For example, the Victims of Crime Helpline offers free information, support and referrals for victims of reported and unreported crime.54 Blue Knot, a community organisation that specialises in complex trauma, also operates a helpline for adult victim-survivors of childhood trauma, including child sexual abuse.55

In addition, the Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria can provide statewide, after-hours, telephone counselling support, information, case work and referral services for people who have experienced sexual assault.56

While beneficial, these websites and advisory supports do not provide specific and tailored advice for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools in one easy-to-access location.

A participant in a Services Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry that ‘[t]here’s no … authoritative information in one place’.57 A victim-survivor echoed this point in their evidence, stating there was a need for ‘a single place to go to [where] you can … seek some advice on your rights and … [there is] someone that can triage you … in respect to where you can go and people you can talk to and seek some help’.58 They noted that ‘to my knowledge, there’s nowhere you can go’.59 A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry there is a need for ‘a much clearer direction or an opportunity to call on those services that are available without [victim-survivors] having to search for them themselves’.60

The Board of Inquiry notes that the Department of Education (Department) has recently made updates to the Victorian Government ‘Report abuse if you’re a current or former student’ web page to provide further information about support services and schemes that victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools may wish to access.61

While an important improvement, the Board of Inquiry considers that there are several issues preventing the web page from fully meeting the needs of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

Previous reviews and inquiries have highlighted that help-seeking websites should be trauma-informed62 and user-friendly.63 It is the Board of Inquiry’s view that the current web page does not sufficiently meet these requirements. It is also not clear whether victim-survivors were consulted on its design.

The web page is not focused on or tailored to the specific needs of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools. While it contains information relevant to this cohort, the page is designed to provide information to current as well as former students, who will have different needs. It also contains information concerning the wellbeing of staff. As a result, an adult victim-survivor of child sexual abuse in a government school who reviews the web page needs to read information that is not relevant to them and may be confusing.

The web page also focuses on ‘reporting’ rather than presenting itself as a resource designed to more fully address the needs of adult victim-survivors who might turn to it for information. The Board of Inquiry is of the view that the current framing of the web page as a pathway to reporting the sexual abuse to the police or the Department means that victim-survivors who do not want to engage with a justice process may not consider the web page to be of relevance to them.

Further, the web page is not highly visible. At the time of writing, the web page was not accessible through other key government online resources that victim-survivors may access, including the Victims of Crime website,64 the Victorian Government web page on the National Redress Scheme,65 or the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s (DFFH’s) web pages on sexual assault.66

In addition, while the Department has established the Sexual Harm Response Unit, which recently began providing assistance to victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools about services and referrals, the capacity of this function is currently quite limited and there remains no one organisation, service or entity that is able to provide comprehensive information and advice to victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

Previous reviews and inquiries have identified a system gap in the provision of information and advice to victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and service users more generally. The Royal Commission found that the lack of accessible information about available supports was a barrier to victim-survivors and their families accessing the help they needed.67 This can result in victim-survivors and their families feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, being unable to access the right service at the right time, or disengaging with services.68 The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System found that people living with mental illness were having difficulty accessing and navigating suitable services, and lacked access to information about treatment, care and support.69 The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s report Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences found that existing sources of information about justice pathways and support services for victim-survivors of sexual assault and abuse were ‘limited’ and ‘difficult to navigate’.70

Little navigation or case management support

While information and occasional advice can empower victim-survivors and secondary victims to identify supports and understand how to access them, some victim-survivors may need more active, ongoing or intensive support to navigate services and systems, as evidenced below.

A participant in a Services Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry that victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse may struggle to identify and engage with appropriate service systems due to diminished help-seeking capabilities.71 A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable explained how challenging it can be to try to navigate service systems while grappling with trauma:

There are so many different aspects to try and find your way through. It’s almost like walking through a trench and not knowing which corridor to go down, whilst dealing with incredible trauma and mental health challenges that you don’t know how to handle either.72

The Board of Inquiry heard that some victim-survivors would benefit from a single point of contact that can provide practical support, including assistance to identify and access the services they need.73 A participant in a Services Roundtable commented:

[S]ometimes what people also really benefit from is the really practical support of sitting with them and going through and getting an understanding for what their needs might be, and helping people navigate the service system …74

The Board of Inquiry also understands that victim-survivors with more complex needs, who need to access a range of services simultaneously, can benefit from case management approaches, whereby a single point of contact actively engages with other services on the victim-survivor’s behalf to ensure their needs are met and care is coordinated.75

There are some existing options that support victim-survivors to navigate systems or provide case management; however, the Board of Inquiry understands that these options may not be able to meet the needs of all victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

The DFFH gave evidence that specialist sexual assault services play a critical role in advocating for victim-survivors to access the support that they need, noting that the professionals working in these services ‘are typically called counsellor advocates’ in recognition of this advocacy.76 These specialist services help victim-survivors to identify their needs and put strategies in place to meet them, including through advocacy and assisting them to connect with other services.77 Dr Gordon similarly gave evidence about the role that specialist sexual assault services can play in supporting victim-survivors using case management approaches.78

However, it can be challenging for specialist sexual assault services to manage this work. For example, the Board of Inquiry heard that these services are under considerable strain and can only spend a limited amount of time with each victim-survivor.79 Because of this, their ability to provide the level of support victim-survivors need to navigate a range of services and systems may be limited.80

Similarly, while the In Good Faith Foundation offers navigation and case management support to a broad cohort of victim-survivors of historical institutional abuse, funding constraints limit the services it is able to provide.81 The In Good Faith Foundation said that ‘there are no specialist-funded service streams that provide holistic case management services to people impacted by institutional abuse and sexual assault’.82 It told the Board of Inquiry that provision of such services is needed because otherwise ‘this often defaults to the mental health practitioner an impacted person may be seeing. Consequently, rather than exclusively focusing on the delivery of much needed mental [health support], sessions are instead spent responding to other matters such as housing that are more appropriate for a case management setting’.83

Some victim-survivors may also be able to receive practical navigation support from Redress Support Services through the National Redress Scheme.84 While support through the National Redress Scheme is likely to be helpful, it is the Board of Inquiry’s understanding that Redress Support Services are only available to victim-survivors who are participating in or seeking to participate in the scheme. This reduces choice and control for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse if they do not wish to use the Redress pathway.

The Board of Inquiry understands that the Victims Assistance Program (VAP) can support victim-survivors to navigate different services and provide case management support.85 The Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) gave evidence that it recently made changes to the VAP service model to allow for more ‘flexibility in the way [the VAP] provide[s] case management and case coordination’, in recognition that there are ‘some people that need a light touch and some people that have more complex needs over a longer period of time’.86

While eligibility for the VAP is not dependent on whether a victim formally reports a crime to the police, in reality most referrals are made through the Victims of Crime Helpline and received from justice agencies such as Victoria Police and the Office of Public Prosecutions.87 The fact that victim-survivors only receive this support after contact with the justice system means that they may not have support when they need it most, such as when deciding whether to report to the police or when preparing to make a report. A participant in a Services Roundtable explained:

[S]ome of these systems are sort of doing it … back to front … We’re asking someone to describe what’s happened to them, et cetera, go through potentially horrendous processes like mandatory reporting, police reporting … before they’ve had the ability to seek mental health care or support …88

Previous reviews have called for more navigation support for all victims of sexual assault and abuse to address this support gap in the system.89

Poor service coordination and collaboration

The Royal Commission found that ‘[n]o single service or service system has the capacity to respond to all the needs of every victim and survivor of child sexual abuse in institutions’, and that many victim-survivors may have to engage with a range of services, often simultaneously.90

While the Board of Inquiry understands that, as noted above, it is important that victim-survivors are supported to navigate the range of services they need, the Board of Inquiry has also been told that victim-survivors receive optimal support when the various services they access are well connected and work collaboratively.91 Collaboration would also mean that if a victim-survivor makes contact with a service that is not right for them, the service would put them in touch with an appropriate service rather than turning them away. The Board of Inquiry was told that there should be ‘no wrong door’ to receiving support.92

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified cross-sector collaboration as a key domain for services implementing a trauma-informed approach because of the wide range of needs that victim-survivors may have.93 Previous research with victim-survivors of child sexual abuse who have complex needs relating to their mental health and alcohol or other drug issues found that, when services are siloed and do not work together, victim-survivors are likely to ‘[fall] through the cracks in service delivery’.94

Coordination and collaboration between services and systems can take many forms. These can include initiatives such as co-location, the development of protocols between key agencies, and ensuring there are clear referral pathways between services.95

The Board of Inquiry heard from a participant in a Services Roundtable that ‘crossover’ collaboration between services helps to better support victim-survivors and their needs.96 The participant explained that collaboration between services enables victim-survivors to better understand the information they are receiving from multiple organisations, and discuss it from various perspectives, to ensure that ‘everyone’s operating as a team promoting the wellbeing of that individual’.97 Good collaboration can also minimise the need for victim-survivors to ‘re-tell their story multiple times’.98 One secondary victim told the Board of Inquiry that, for the victim-survivors they know, having to repeat their story to different services had acted as a barrier to accessing support.99

In addition, the Board of Inquiry heard that good service connectivity may assist victim-survivors to build the confidence to access some services, such as specialist sexual assault services. Sexual Assault Services Victoria explained that offering referrals for victim-survivors to specialist sexual assault services at multiple points in time (rather than only once) is important because it can take time for victim-survivors to feel sufficiently confident to reach out to such services, or because some victim-survivors may not feel deserving of support.100

The Board of Inquiry understands that changes have been made over the past several decades, and reforms have been introduced to improve service collaboration and coordination. For example, the first multidisciplinary centres were established in Victoria in 2007 and have continued to be established across Victoria. As described in Chapter 16(opens in a new window), these centres co-locate a range of agencies to provide coordinated responses to sexual assault.101

However, as demonstrated below, the Board of Inquiry understands there continues to be room for improvement in how services work together to ensure the whole range of victim-survivor needs are met.

Participants across two Services Roundtables reflected that a key challenge is the lack of coordination and collaboration across services,102 with one participant stating:

I think we can do better in terms of having a more joined-up systemic response to people … because we’re not going to be able to meet all their needs as one part of the response.103

Participants suggested there are issues with referral practices between various services, including across the justice, sexual assault support and health service systems.104 For example, a participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable reflected that they did not think GPs know where to refer victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse.105

The Board of Inquiry also understands that even when a referral is made, lack of communication between services may see victim-survivors needing to re-tell their story.106

Such issues may mean that victim-survivors struggle to move seamlessly between services, and may have to make repeated, often re-traumatising disclosures in order to commence a relationship with the next service provider.

Even when victim-survivors are connected with the range of supports they need, the Board of Inquiry understands that coordination and collaboration challenges affect the level of ‘wrap-around’ care that would constitute a trauma-informed way of working with victim-survivors.107

Dr Gordon gave evidence to the Board of Inquiry that victim-survivors are often ‘referred to a number of different service providers for different aspects … (e.g. educational, emotional, social) and it is then challenging to achieve coordination of services to effectively provide the required treatment’.108

Dr Joe Tucci, CEO, Australian Childhood Foundation, gave evidence that while ‘[v]ictim-survivors may need to engage with a number of services to manage the impacts of child sexual abuse … often psychological support is the only support that victim-survivors are offered’.282 He told the Board of Inquiry that even when victim-survivors are receiving broader support, this support might not be well integrated with psychological support.109

In contrast, the DFFH gave evidence that specialist sexual assault services do provide coordinated and integrated care,110 stating that ‘[t]here are really clear referral pathways in and out of sexual assault support services’111 and specialist sexual assault services work ‘closely with the range of services to make sure the victim-survivor gets what they need’.112

The DJCS also stated that ‘the referral systems work well’, but noted that ‘coordination and integration … can always be improved’.113

Limited service capacity

Demand pressures reducing service capacity to provide timely support to people

Seeking help can take great courage for victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse. One participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry: ‘the bravest thing to do is make that first contact’.114

As outlined below, there is no doubt that service responses need to be timely. Research indicates that a victim-survivor’s help-seeking is often precipitated by a personal crisis; for example, in their relationship or with their mental health.115 Victim-survivors often require urgent support when they do reach out. Help-seeking and disclosure may also compound a sense of crisis for victim-survivors. They can make victim-survivors feel vulnerable, undermine feelings of safety and trigger memories of child sexual abuse.116

If victim-survivors do not receive a timely response, they may disengage from support services.117 This risk was recognised by a participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable:

[W]e were sent to one location and that location gave a number for another location … [which] was only available in two weeks’ time … by that stage you might have lost them.118

A participant in a Services Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry of the damaging effect that a lack of available services can have on victim-survivors, noting that ‘we need to give them an access point into an unsaturated service system because otherwise we are running the risk of re-traumatising’.119

While the Board of Inquiry was unable to explore mainstream service availability in depth, it understands that people can experience lengthy wait times for some mainstream services, including for therapeutic supports. For example:

  • The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System found that people living with mental illness or psychological distress face long wait times to access public mental health services.120 As a result, they are increasingly required to exhibit signs of major distress or crisis before treatment, care and support are provided.121
  • In relation to private psychological services, Dr Tucci and Professor Daryl Higgins, Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University, highlighted that there may be waitlists for these services.122 A participant in a Services Roundtable explained that the service they work for provides referral pathways to private practice counselling practitioners to ensure clients have access to therapeutic support. However, they indicated that these practitioners now have waitlists.123 In a 2023 Australian Psychological Society survey, 77 per cent of Australian Psychological Society members reported that wait times at their practice had increased or stayed the same compared to 2022.124
  • There is evidence that some Australians, including those from disadvantaged cohorts, face long wait times to see a GP.125 This may present challenges for victim-survivors trying to set up a mental health treatment plan or seek treatment for other health problems.

The Board of Inquiry did not seek detailed information about wait times in the community sector, noting the diversity of services it includes. However, the Board of Inquiry did hear from one community organisation that it has recently had to implement a waitlist for the first time due to increased demand.126

Waitlists for specialist sexual assault services are also extensive. From January 2022 to September 2023, the average wait time to access specialist sexual assault services for adults was 72 days.127 However, the Board of Inquiry was told that some victim-survivors can be on a specialist sexual assault service’s waitlist for up to 12 months.128

Professor Leah Bromfield, Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Chair of Child Protection, University of South Australia, told the Board of Inquiry that ‘demand outstrips capacity consistently and victim-survivors, particularly survivors of historical child sexual abuse, can face long waitlists to access specialist services’.129

One secondary victim described how their partner, a victim-survivor, reached out to a specialist sexual assault service and was told there was a 14-month waitlist.130 The secondary victim described how this was a significant issue given that reaching out to the service in the first place was confronting and the victim-survivor had had to make himself vulnerable to do so.131

The Board of Inquiry also heard differing views about whether specialist sexual assault services prioritise victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse. The DFFH advised that victim-survivors facing crisis or with high needs are prioritised regardless of whether the case is recent or historic, as informed by the National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence: Standards of Practice Manual for Sexual Violence Services.132 The DFFH also gave evidence to the Board of Inquiry that, while a victim-survivor is on the waitlist for a specialist sexual assault service, the service ‘will make contact with that person, [and] look at what immediate supports can be put in place whilst they are waiting for some of those deeper services’.133 Professor Patrick O’Leary, Co-Lead of the Disrupting Violence Beacon and Director of the Violence Research and Prevention Program, Griffith University, told the Board of Inquiry that, in practice, a specialist sexual assault service will select victim-survivors of recent sexual assaults first ‘because of [the] service’s competing priorities and the practice of triage which places emergency, current or recent victims before historical ones’.134

Participants in a Services Roundtable discussed the reasons for capacity challenges across the community and specialist sexual assault services sectors. One participant noted that there is a ‘sheer lack of funding’ and that ‘we will never meet demand with[in] the current service systems that we have in Australia with the current funding, compared to the prevalence of child sexual abuse’.135 Another participant identified that their waitlist is an indicator that ‘the system … is becoming overwhelmed at the moment, simply by the level of demand’.136 A third participant similarly reflected that ‘we don’t have the funding to employ the counsellors that we need to meet that demand, which means that we will never get through our waitlist’.137

In its submission to the Board of Inquiry, Sexual Assault Services Victoria described how:

[r]eforms arising from the national Royal Commission, growing community understanding about both the impact of child sexual assault and the existence of recovery support, combined with the historic underfunding of the specialist sexual assault sector, mean that service capacity is significantly outstripped by demand. At present, there are waitlists of up to six months for some member services.138

The Board of Inquiry also heard evidence from the DFFH that one of reasons for long waitlists for specialist sexual assault services is that funding constraints, meaning service demand is outstripping supply.139

In addition, the Board of Inquiry notes that workforce challenges are contributing to demand pressures. These are explored further later in this Chapter.

Service duration often inadequate

It is well recognised that victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and other people who have experienced trauma should have access to long-term support if it is needed to support their recovery.140

Dr Gordon gave evidence that in a therapeutic setting, ‘it’s very important that there’s an open timeframe in which … treatment can be offered’.141 He explained that this is important because a trusted relationship where victim-survivors feel safe and are stabilised needs to be established before much important therapeutic work can begin.142 Research also demonstrates that timeframes need to factor in the time it takes for practitioners to build trust with the victim-survivor, which can be considerable.143 In addition, research with victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse has confirmed the importance of ‘sustained and stable’ support.144

Some support and advocacy services told the Board of Inquiry that victim-survivors must be able to receive support for periods of time that are long enough to support their healing and recovery.145 As one victim-survivor told the Board of Inquiry, many victim-survivors ‘are not going to be better in six sessions’.146

As outlined below, the Board of Inquiry received some information that suggests that the duration of support that some services — particularly specialist sexual assault services — are able to provide might not adequately meet the needs of victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

Dr Tucci told the Board of Inquiry that most services are time-limited.147 Dr Gordon’s evidence was that publicly funded services may only be able to provide a limited number of sessions and this may not allow victim-survivors to get to the ‘core of the experience’.148 This can impact the long-term ability of victim-survivors to heal.149 The Royal Commission also found that victim-survivors and service providers often feel that time-limited support is inadequate and that this can act as a barrier to victim-survivors seeking assistance.150

The DFFH gave evidence to the Board of Inquiry that specialist sexual assault services do not have limits on the amount of support they provide to victim-survivors.151 However, Sexual Assault Services Victoria stated that the duration of support that these services can practically provide under the existing funding model is limited.152 Western Region Centre Against Sexual Assault (WestCASA), a specialist sexual assault service, told the Board of Inquiry:

[A] lot of our victim-survivors who have experienced childhood sexual assault are needing years worth of counselling and therapy ongoing, and that’s not something that we can offer.153

The Board of Inquiry also heard that funding arrangements and demand pressures can impact the ability of these services to provide group therapies for the amount of time that victim-survivors have reported they want.154

More broadly, the Board of Inquiry understands that the duration of subsidised support through the private sector may not meet the needs of victim-survivors. Australians currently have access to 10 Medicare-subsidised individual mental health sessions per year under a mental health treatment plan.155 During COVID-19, the Commonwealth Government increased this to 20 sessions annually, but decreased it back to 10 from 31 December 2022.156 Dr Gordon emphasised to the Board of Inquiry that, while 20 sessions allow for victim-survivors to receive fortnightly sessions consistently throughout the year, 10 sessions make it difficult to ‘obtain the continuity of service that is ideal to effectively treat a patient’.157

Support over the life course not widely available

The concept of ‘life-course impacts’ provides a lens through which to examine how sexual abuse affects a child not only at the time of the sexual abuse (taking into account their development stage at that time), but also how it continues to affect how a person functions through adolescence and into adulthood.158

While the nature of healing is different for all victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools, many victim-survivors may experience impacts that abate, only to re-emerge or manifest at a later point (or points) in time in response to triggers or certain life events.159 This means that victim-survivors will often need to re-engage with multiple support services at different times and in different ways over their life course, depending on how their impacts and trauma manifest.160

The life stages at which support is required will differ between individuals.161 However, the Board of Inquiry heard evidence that victim-survivors often need to re-engage or seek additional support when the following life events occur:

  • They have a child.162
  • A child starts school.163
  • A significant relationship begins or a marriage takes place.164
  • A traumatic experience occurs, such as the death of a relative.165

In his evidence, Professor O’Leary told the Board of Inquiry that support service systems should have the ‘dexterity’ to allow for this re-engagement to occur quickly, easily and in a high-quality way.166

The Royal Commission also found that impacts of child sexual abuse can be experienced over a victim-survivor’s life course, and that support services should be responsive to victim-survivors’ multiple needs.167

As outlined below, the Board of Inquiry understands that the service system does not allow for easy re-engagement. Dr Tucci told the Board of Inquiry:

We have learnt from other experiences of trauma that we need a service system that provides victim-survivors with support over the course of their lives. This does not mean that they are always involved in counselling, but it means that the service is always available and actively checking in with them over the course of their lives.168

However, he noted that ‘[w]e are very far away from being able to offer this’.169

Professor O’Leary gave evidence that because victim-survivors can be triggered throughout their life at different stages due to the impacts of complex trauma:

it’s therefore really important … that we are actually taking [a person’s] complex trauma and their needs across that whole span, and the current service system doesn’t really meet those requirements …170

He also told the Board of Inquiry about the ‘continuity’ issue in the current system, observing that it does not readily allow for victim-survivors to re-engage with support as required.171

As mentioned above, many services are time-limited.172 While some may allow the victim-survivor to ‘rejoin’ a service at the end of the original allotted sessions, the victim-survivor may then face a long waitlist, meaning they ‘don’t get consistency of care and continuity in their trauma healing journey which often means that it’s a stop-start process’.173

The Board of Inquiry understands that under current service arrangements, victim-survivors may face this issue at each life stage when they need support. The Board of Inquiry further understands that victim-survivors may disengage from support altogether if the barriers they experience when trying to re-engage are too high.174

Inequity in accessing therapeutic services

As discussed in Chapter 16(opens in a new window), there are a number of free services that victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools may access, such as specialist sexual assault services. However, as outlined above there is considerable strain on public services. This may see victim-survivors seeking to engage private services for support,175 unfortunately leading to inequities in service access.

The Board of Inquiry received evidence from Dr Gordon that the cost of private therapeutic services can create a ‘heavy financial burden for most victim-survivors’.176 One victim-survivor described their experience in seeking support as ‘incredibly hard and incredibly expensive’.177 A secondary victim described how the high cost of treatment for their partner, a victim-survivor, created financial hardship for the family, meaning the secondary victim could not afford their own support.178 They described how they cancelled an appointment to see a psychologist because of the high out-of-pocket cost, stating: ‘I couldn’t justify that because the money isn’t there’.179 A participant in a Services Roundtable reflected that ‘it’s all well and good to have services available but if people can’t afford to get them … what’s the use then of that service?’.180

A 2016 research study also identified that victim-survivors of child sexual abuse want to attend more counselling sessions, but costs are prohibitive.181

Some victim-survivors who spoke to the Board of Inquiry noted that they have had the financial means to engage private therapeutic services, but they recognised that not all victim-survivors are able to do so.182 This was a concern for these victim-survivors.183 One victim-survivor described the high cost of private practitioners as ‘problematic’, given that victim-survivors of child sexual abuse may not have sufficient financial resources as a result of the ongoing effects of trauma on their lives.184 The Royal Commission also found that some victim-survivors may experience financial hardship as an impact of child sexual abuse.185

As noted earlier, Medicare-subsidised psychological support is available to victim-survivors through a mental health treatment plan. However, there is often a ‘gap fee’ for services that victim-survivors may not be able to afford. A participant in a Services Roundtable observed that ‘a lot of our clients simply can’t afford that. They can’t afford the gap fee even if they can get Medicare … That could be upward of $100, $150 [per session]. It’s significant’.186

Victim-survivors may be able to access free therapeutic support services through the National Redress Scheme.187 They may also be able to receive financial assistance for therapeutic support services through the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.188 However, access to these supports requires victim-survivors to be eligible for and willing to engage in such schemes. As noted earlier, this reduces choice and control for victim-survivors.

The Board of Inquiry learned that victim-survivors of historical sexual abuse in government schools are able to receive reimbursement for sessions with private counselling or psychological services from the Department, as part of its Counselling Assistance Payment scheme, although the Department described this as a ‘stop-gap’ measure, with uptake of this option being very low.189

Need for greater inclusivity and support for men

Victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools are not a homogenous group. They are diverse, and their differences may affect how they experience institutional child sexual abuse and its impacts.

The Board of Inquiry considers it is important that support services be inclusive of and accessible for all victim-survivors. Inclusive services adopt an approach that acknowledges ‘multidimensional aspects of identity that are key to inclusivity and account for historical, structural and cultural factors’.190 They also adopt person-centred practices tailored to individual needs.191 This requires them to ‘have the skills and capacity to respond effectively to diverse needs or collaborate with other agencies to meet those needs’.192

However, the Board of Inquiry has heard expert evidence that some victim-survivors can face particular barriers to help-seeking, and may struggle to find and access services that meet their needs.193

As discussed earlier in this Chapter, research reveals that more men report experiencing institutional child sexual abuse than women. In keeping with this research, while the Board of Inquiry did hear from some women, the vast majority of victim-survivors who came forward to share their experiences with the Board of Inquiry were men.194 Therefore, the Board of Inquiry heard about the responsiveness of the services primarily through the experiences of men.

The Board of Inquiry heard evidence and received information highlighting that victim-survivors need gender-sensitive responses.195 Proponents of gender-sensitive responses contend that trauma can impact people in gender-specific ways and that gender can also impact the service responses that people find meaningful or effective.196

In his evidence, Professor O’Leary told the Board of Inquiry that because ‘[m]ost sexual abuse [against males] is committed by other males … this can leave male victim-survivors questioning their identity as [a] man as well as their sexuality’.197 Other gendered impacts for men can include an increase in risk-taking behaviours and fears they may go on to perpetrate sexual abuse.198 The Board of Inquiry heard that men face particular barriers to disclosure and help-seeking, and may rely more heavily on their informal support networks.199 Professor O’Leary also explained that gender identity can play a role in behaviours a therapist may need to address; for example, where a male victim-survivor is a perpetrator of family violence.200

The Board of Inquiry received some evidence suggesting that men may have difficulties engaging with existing specialist sexual assault services. In Victoria, specialist sexual assault services originated in the feminist movement, and were aimed at providing women with a place to seek help and support.201 As a far greater proportion of women are sexually assaulted than men, specialist sexual assault services see more women than men as clients. Against this background, it is not surprising that the Board of Inquiry was told that men may not ‘feel welcome as clients’.202 Professor O’Leary gave evidence that male victim-survivors may be disadvantaged by services that have, for good reasons, been ‘primarily geared for women’.203 Bravehearts, an organisation that works with, and advocates for, victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, recognised that across the service system more broadly, there has been a lack of ‘focus’ on the provision of support to male victim-survivors.204

The DFFH, however, gave evidence that specialist sexual assault services are able to provide gender-sensitive responses to male victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, stating that these services:

bring clinical and practice expertise around the differential impacts of child sexual abuse for men and women. They will, from time to time, run men’s groups or other services that are targeted at the particular experience of males that have experienced child sexual abuse. But all of their services, whether that’s counselling or group work programs, are attuned to those different impacts for the different genders.205

A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable reflected on the positive experience they had when taking part in a formal group program for men run by a specialist sexual assault service.206

However, a secondary victim, supporting their male partner who is a victim-survivor, suggested to the Board of Inquiry that some men may not consider specialist sexual assault services to be suitable for them, noting that ‘a 60+ year old man doesn’t want to be presenting himself to this type of service, with their big sign out front’.207

WestCASA highlighted that more men have been accessing its services since it made a deliberate move to position itself as being responsive to people of all genders:

[W]hat we’ve seen at CASA especially in the west is that we’re seeing more men ... And I think that is with a change in the language that we have been using. So over the past kind of five-plus years we’ve shifted from being a women’s organisation to being a sexual assault organisation that works with anybody who has experienced sexual violence within their life.208

The Board of Inquiry also understands that a range of communities may experience barriers to help-seeking and effective service responses, though the Board of Inquiry’s scope meant it did not receive information to examine these issues in detail.

For example, Dr Gordon gave evidence that many victim-survivors who identify as LGBTIQA+ have often experienced ‘judgement, rejection and criticism’, including through their engagements with the health system.209 These experiences make it difficult for LGBTIQA+ victim-survivors to ‘seek out and accept support’ from professionals in the health system.210

The Royal Commission identified that a responsive service system is ‘inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing approaches’.211 This need is underpinned by the historical context of collective trauma and the importance of culturally informed healing methodologies, ‘beyond Western, clinical forms of therapy’.212 However, the Board of Inquiry heard from Bravehearts that ‘[t]here are very few services that meet the needs of First Nations … victims and survivors’.213 The Board of Inquiry received evidence that the Victorian Government funds four Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations to provide culturally safe sexual assault support services to Aboriginal people, which focus on safety, healing and wellbeing, and take a whole of community approach.214

The Board of Inquiry also heard expert evidence that victim-survivors from culturally diverse communities need access to culturally relevant and culturally safe services.215 For some victim-survivors, the Board of Inquiry was told, this may mean receiving support from a person with a shared cultural background,216 or from services that are based on the cultural values of the relevant group.217 However, the Board of Inquiry heard there is a need for greater cultural competency across services.218

The Royal Commission found that disability services often do not have the skills and expertise to respond to experiences of sexual violence, and that therapeutic services for child sexual abuse are often not inclusive of or accessible to people with disability.219 Consequently, victim-survivors with disability can be ‘caught between services without receiving support’.220

Victim-survivors of all ages, including older people, should have access to services that meet their needs; for example, through ensuring responses are sensitive to how trauma manifests differently for people of different ages.221 However, the Board of Inquiry was told that ageism can contribute to family members and professionals not believing victim-survivor disclosures.222 The Board of Inquiry also heard from Professor Bromfield about a lack of specialised supports for older victim-survivors.223

Peer support service gaps

Peer support involves a range of activities between people with similar lived experiences. Such a reciprocal relationship ‘promotes connection and inspires hope’.224 As outlined below, the Board of Inquiry heard that creating spaces where victim-survivors can connect with one another is an important form of support for victim-survivors.

Professor O’Leary gave evidence of his opinion that there is ‘immense power in having connection between individuals who have experienced child sexual abuse’.225

Peer support can provide vital opportunities for victim-survivors to feel understood in a way they may not experience when engaging with professionals who have not lived through similar trauma.226 As explained in Dr Tucci’s evidence:

The feeling that you are not the only one when you have felt like this your whole life can be very liberating for victim-survivors. Being able to share and be validated by people who have shared your experience can be positive and create real strength for victim-survivors.227

Dr Gordon similarly gave evidence about the importance of peer support networks in providing victim-survivors with a space where they will be understood.228

A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable said:

[T]here … is a different voice that comes from the survivors than … from the non-survivors.229

Reflecting during the Healing Roundtable on his experience in providing support to male victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, Craig Hughes-Cashmore, CEO, Survivors & Mates Support Network, stated: ‘the amount of times when I said “Look, I’m not a counsellor, I’m certainly not a lawyer, but I am a survivor”. And you can hear them breathe out and just go, “Oh, so you get it”. And I’m like, “Yeah, I get it”’.230

Dr Katie Wright, Associate Professor, Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, gave evidence of her opinion that connection between peers is important because it can allow victim-survivors to make sense of their own experiences.231

Peer spaces can also make victim-survivors feel safe.232 A victim-survivor who has participated in peer support groups for people experiencing suicidal ideation commented:

I think survivor spaces are really good for acknowledging and allowing people to be themselves and to feel heard. And when you’re feeling heard by another person … you feel your words have meaning, you feel connected with other people, you feel there is more safety in those spaces than in some of the other spaces controlled by the mental health system.233

A Healing Roundtable participant explained that the value of peer support for many victim-survivors is in creating a sense that the victim-survivor is no longer alone.234

Peer support has been described as acting as a ‘protective factor’, providing space for victim-survivors to know they are believed, and that their experiences cannot be denied.235 The Board of Inquiry heard during the Lived Experience Roundtable how peer support is particularly important when victim-survivors are first beginning to disclose their experiences, because the support they receive from peers may be more compassionate than the support they receive from other sources.236 Through peer support, victim-survivors may be encouraged to seek professional help.237

The Board of Inquiry heard about positive experiences that victim-survivors have had while connecting with other victim-survivors within the Beaumaris community, although this is not a formal peer support group.238

The Board of Inquiry also heard that connection to peers can be particularly important for some groups of victim-survivors, including LGBTIQA+ people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, who may not feel comfortable talking to professionals.239

Professor O’Leary gave evidence to the Board of Inquiry that when male victim-survivors are able to speak to people with similar experiences, it ‘can break that sense of isolation and shame, to know that the abuse isn’t about them, it’s all about the perpetrator’.240 A participant in the Healing Roundtable reflected that peer support is particularly important for men who ‘just don’t feel comfortable going to a sexual assault service’.241 Another participant in the Healing Roundtable highlighted that men can particularly benefit from the ‘collaborative process’ of peer support because men are more likely to ‘accept support if they’re also … part of providing support’.242

In addition, connection to peers has been identified as important for secondary victims.243 Peer support models enable secondary victims to have space for open discussion — where they can give and receive support from people with similar experiences,244 and have their own experience acknowledged and validated.245

While the evidence base about the effectiveness of peer support for victim-survivors of child sexual abuse is currently limited, some research has found positive results for participants.246 Positive psychological impacts include increased ability to accept and voice their experiences, with a reduction in self-blame.247 Positive interpersonal impacts include reduced isolation, ‘shifts in relating to self and others’ and improved personal relationships.248

The Board of Inquiry was told that peer support should be available to victim-survivors in addition to therapeutic services.249 However, despite the importance of peer support, Dr Tucci gave evidence that currently ‘the onus is on victim-survivors to generate these groups themselves’.250 He told the Board of Inquiry that ‘[t]here is something very powerful about these groups coming from victim-survivors, but they could be better resourced’.251

One individual told the Board of Inquiry about her challenges in accessing peer support for women:

I was made aware of a support group of survivors from Beaumaris Primary School, and when I contacted them to see if I could join, I was told, ‘We are all men and there isn’t really a place for women in our group’. So I have been alone in this.252

Maureen Hatcher, Founder, LOUD fence Inc, told the Board of Inquiry that LOUD fence Inc, a grassroots organisation, arranges peer support groups for victim-survivors of historical institutional child sexual abuse.253 LOUD fence Inc has collaborated with The Survivor Hub, a Sydney-based organisation, to host peer support groups in Ballarat, known as ‘MeetUps’.254 The Survivor Hub also runs independent MeetUps in Melbourne.255

In addition, LOUD fence Inc facilitates other opportunities for peer connection through arranging creative workshops for victim-survivors and their supporters.256 In its submission to the Board of Inquiry, LOUD fence Inc noted that it would ‘like to see improvement in … access for victim-survivor and community-led support’.257

Open Place operates monthly Social Support Groups for ‘Pre-1990 Care Leavers’ (also known as ‘Forgotten Australians’), meaning people who spent time in institutional or other forms of out-of-home care as children prior to 1990.258 These groups provide opportunities for socialisation and group activities.259 However, the Board of Inquiry notes that, for the purposes of its’ work, the definition of ‘government school’ in the Terms of Reference ‘excludes schools that were historically attached to orphanages or group homes’.260

The In Good Faith Foundation facilitates the Victorian Survivors’ Collective. This is not a peer support group, but a community action group focused on victim-survivor empowerment, ‘with the capacity to function as an education forum’.261

Lack of social and relational support, and support for secondary victims

While clause 3(e) of the Board of Inquiry’s Terms of Reference did not require it to consider the effectiveness of support services for secondary victims, clause 3(d) required it to consider ‘[a]ppropriate ways to support healing for affected victim-survivors, secondary victims and affected communities’.262 The Board of Inquiry considers that ensuring secondary victims are able to access supports is important to their healing.

The Board of Inquiry heard expert evidence that a victim-survivor’s family, including adult partners, can be their most significant type of support.263 The Board of Inquiry heard that it is often a family member, partner or other supporter who first reaches out for support on the victim-survivor’s behalf.264 Research has shown that disclosures of child sexual abuse in adulthood are mostly made to partners.265

Research has shown that secondary victims support victim-survivors with mental health and drug and alcohol challenges that arise from their experiences of child sexual abuse, and engaging with the criminal and civil justice systems.266 The Board of Inquiry heard examples of secondary victims providing victim-survivors with emotional support, as well as practical support; for example, driving victim-survivors to appointments.267 In his evidence to the Board of Inquiry, Professor O’Leary explained that victim-survivors’ supporters need support themselves.268

In addition, the Board of Inquiry understands that secondary victims may be managing the relationship impacts caused by the victim-survivor’s experience of abuse. The Board of Inquiry heard that relationships may experience strain due to anger issues, difficulties with intimacy, or financial or other challenges.269 Secondary victims’ own wellbeing, including their mental and physical health, may also be affected.270

The Board of Inquiry heard that providing support to the whole family unit can improve outcomes for victim-survivors. A participant in a Services Roundtable explained: ‘It’s certainly better for the welfare of the primary survivor … if we’re able to work together with a family group rather than divide them up’.271 Dr Tucci gave evidence on the importance of supporting secondary victims to respond to disclosures from victim-survivors, noting that positive responses can ‘provide a significant opportunity for healing and transformation’.272

A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry of the importance of a service response that ‘understands that we are all affected by the social environment in which we exist … [and] supports the whole family’.273

Despite the important role that family and friends play in supporting victim-survivors, the Board of Inquiry heard that they are not always recognised as secondary victims by services. This is explored below.

Dr Tucci gave evidence to the Board of Inquiry that ‘there is little being offered to secondary victims’.274 Dr Gordon agreed that secondary victims may miss out on support.275 One secondary victim told the Board of Inquiry:

As secondary victims we too have been exposed to trauma, yet [the] reality is, we have NO voice in this mess. NO support and NO help.276

Secondary victims currently need to go through the same services as adult victim-survivors.277 This means they face the same availability and accessibility challenges as victim-survivors.

Furthermore, secondary victims may find it difficult to receive support under existing support service models.278

While providing support to non-offending family members and support people of victim-survivors is within the scope of service delivery arrangements for specialist sexual assault services,279 the Board of Inquiry heard that, in practice, these services have to limit the amount of support they can give to secondary victims because of competing priorities.280

In its submission to the Board of Inquiry, Sexual Assault Services Victoria noted:

Secondary victims of institutional child sexual abuse, such as parents and family members, may also need support … Victoria’s specialist sexual assault services work both with victim survivors and non-offending family members and are well placed to provide information and support to secondary victims to support their relationship with the victim survivor, as well as ways to manage their own wellbeing. However, service demand pressures, including long waiting lists, mean that secondary victims often cannot access support services.281

WestCASA confirmed that its service is only able to offer up to three sessions to secondary victims, and the focus of those sessions is on education.282 WestCASA noted that, while education is important, ‘a lot of the time secondary victim-survivors are also experiencing trauma’, and its service does not have the capacity to address this.283

For some services, secondary victims may not meet eligibility criteria at all. A participant in a Services Roundtable told the Board of Inquiry that their service’s government funding does not extend to secondary victims, but they try to find funding elsewhere to provide support for secondary victims.284

In contrast, a participant in a Services Roundtable from a VAP provider reflected that their service has ‘no barriers to supporting secondary or related victims to the primary victim’, including no limits in terms of timeframes for support.285

The Board of Inquiry understands that the Victorian Government’s changes to the Counselling and Psychological Care Service that took effect from 1 November 2023 now enable direct provision of counselling and psychological care services to a victim-survivor’s family members (including by birth or choice).286

Prior to these changes, secondary victims could only receive these services indirectly, throug family therapy.287 While beneficial, these offerings are only available to secondary victims if the victim-survivor is eligible for, and has accepted an offer of, redress under the National Redress Scheme.288

In addition, a victim-survivor’s family members are able to receive reimbursement for sessions with private counselling or psychological services from the Department as part of its Counselling Assistance Payments.289

Limited number of professionals skilled in trauma-informed responses

Victim-survivors need access to support services that make them feel safe, believed and understood.290 Dr Gordon gave evidence that the establishment of a safe place and a trusted relationship is central to a best-practice response to child sexual abuse, by means of which victim-survivors can unpack their memories.291 A participant in the Lived Experience Roundtable explained how important these types of responses can be:

If you get the right person at the beginning, whether it’s your GP, whether it’s a social worker, if it’s the right person who takes on board what you’re there for, you’re on the road.292

Dr Gordon explained that best practice for professionals who are providing support services to victim-survivors is to have a sound education in trauma.293 In addition, Professor Bromfield gave evidence that the way in which services engage with clients must not be traumatising for victim-survivors.294 There is an increasing expectation that professionals working in social sector workforces and services have a baseline knowledge of trauma. In 2023, the National Office for Child Safety released new Minimum Practice Standards for specialist and community services responding to child sexual abuse.295 These Minimum Practice Standards recognise that trauma-informed service delivery should be embedded in the practice of services responding to current and historical child sexual abuse.296

A trauma-informed approach means that all people in an organisation have a basic realisation about trauma and its effects, are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of trauma, can respond by applying trauma-informed principles, and actively seek to resist the re-traumatisation of clients.297

While trauma-informed responses from all support services are beneficial, different services will require different levels of organisational ability and workforce knowledge, capability and expertise, depending on the type of support they provide.298

Experts provided evidence to the Board of Inquiry that all support services should be able to work with trauma generally;299 for example, by incorporating knowledge of trauma into ways of working, and ensuring links with services that provide trauma-specific services when needed.300 Professor Bromfield provided evidence that this is important because victim-survivors are over-represented as users of a range of services.301 Research confirms that victim-survivors of child maltreatment (including child sexual abuse) have a higher number of consultations with healthcare professionals of various types, including GPs.302

The Board of Inquiry also understands that knowledge and training in health services on sensitive ways of working with people who have experienced historical child sexual abuse is important, in light of the ‘impact of childhood abuse on health and the healthcare experience’.303 Similarly, research indicates that there is a need for professionals in aged care facilities to have education and training in trauma-informed care.304 This is particularly so for professionals providing support to victim-survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, who may fear entering such settings because of their previous traumatic experiences and feelings of powerlessness in institutions.305 Needing to rely on an institution can trigger memories for these victim-survivors, increasing levels of anxiety and other mental health concerns.306

Professor Higgins gave evidence about the critical need for victim-survivors to have access to therapeutic support from ‘experienced practitioners who understand, and are experienced in working with, victim-survivors’.307 Services also indicated that responding to historical institutional child sexual abuse requires specialised knowledge.308 In addition, research shows that support services working with victim-survivors of crimes such as historical child sexual abuse require ‘a level of specialisation and a sophisticated understanding of trauma and its practice implications’.309

Workforce supply and capability challenges

Unfortunately, some victim-survivors shared with the Board of Inquiry instances where they tried to disclose or seek help, but were met with inadequate responses.310 Professor Bromfield gave evidence about the effect a lack of trauma-informed capability can have on a victim-survivor’s experiences with services:

I’ve been devastated when I read survivor accounts who talk about themselves as untreatable. ‘I’ve been to multiple services and I’m untreatable’. That is not on the survivor. That, to me, is a sign that that survivor has repeatedly experienced ineffective treatments that didn’t adapt to the way that their complex trauma was manifesting at that time.311

Others noted that finding these appropriate, trauma-informed professionals has been difficult.312 Some experts told the Board of Inquiry that there are few services focusing specifically on historical child sexual abuse.313 For example, Professor O’Leary gave evidence about the lack of therapeutic services that have a specialisation in historical child sexual abuse and experiences with complex trauma.314 He said that while there are services that respond to sexual violence or child abuse more broadly, historical child sexual abuse in institutions may not be their primary focus.315 Professor Bromfield also gave evidence that more capability is required across services to respond to complex, childhood trauma.316 Dr Tucci acknowledged that progress is being made, but observed that ‘[a]ll services need to understand more about the impact of trauma on the capacities of victim-survivors’.317 The Board of Inquiry was told that this lack of specific focus in services can make it difficult for victim-survivors to receive the support they need.318

However, the Board of Inquiry heard from others that Victoria has relatively good support services for victim-survivors of child sexual abuse compared to some other states and the territories.319 Sexual Assault Services Victoria told the Board of Inquiry that specialist sexual assault services can ‘provide best-practice, evidence-informed approaches to providing effective support for adults who have experienced child sexual abuse at government schools’.320 However, it outlined that constraints such as funding ‘limit full access to services’.321 The DFFH gave evidence that specialist sexual assault services have ‘deep clinical and practice expertise in relation to … trauma’, but acknowledged that ‘there is always further work to do to build the capability of the workforce around complex trauma’.322 As described previously in this Chapter, these services are experiencing resource capacity challenges (with regard to funding and workforce supply) that limit people’s ability to access and receive timely support.

The Board of Inquiry received evidence that simply increasing funding for existing services, or introducing more support services, will not solve the problem.323 There are issues with both the number of qualified workers available, and the capability of the existing workforce to respond to trauma.324

Workforce supply challenges

The Victorian Skills Authority estimates that almost 4,000 additional welfare support and social workers will be required by 2025.325 Victorian Government representatives told the Board of Inquiry at its public hearings that the social services sector has undergone a period of increased demand and expansion.326 They commented on the workforce challenges associated with this expansion.327 The DJCS acknowledged during its evidence that ‘the workforce is not always there’.328

There is increased demand for nursing, aged care, disability and mental health services, but these services draw on a similar pool of people and qualifications, and are all experiencing shortages.329 This means they compete for workers.330 At the same time, workforce attrition has increased. While in previous decades people would stay in the same profession for 20–30 years, this is no longer the case. Replacing professionals who leave a service with appropriately skilled staff can be a challenge.331

Workforce capability challenges

The Board of Inquiry understands that workforce supply is not the only challenge affecting services. Capability challenges are also having a significant effect on workforces, both current and future.

In relation to the future workforce, the Board of Inquiry heard mixed views about the degree to which the impacts of child sexual abuse and working with trauma are taught in key courses. The DFFH gave evidence that ‘pre-service education, through social work and psychology’, has a focus on trauma-informed care.332 In contrast, a participant in a Services Roundtable said that that there is a lack of focus on trauma and the impacts of child sexual abuse in relevant university courses, including in social work, psychology and counselling degrees, which is contributing to low workforce capability.333 Participants in the same Services Roundtable noted that services may find that the pool of applicants do not have the requisite skills in working with trauma and victim-survivors of child sexual abuse.334

In relation to the existing workforce, the Board of Inquiry heard that there is a need for ‘training and support for practitioners across a range of different systems about how to … hear and hold these stories of trauma’.335 The Board of Inquiry understands that ongoing professional development is important because the evidence base in relation to complex trauma continues to evolve.336 The Board of Inquiry was told that professionals across key services, such as in specialist sexual assault services and the VAP, do receive opportunities for professional development.337 However, demand pressures mean that workers do not always have the opportunity to engage in suitable levels of professional development that would continue to build their capability to provide trauma-informed responses.338

Bravehearts told the Board of Inquiry that the funding for services does not adequately cover professional development.339 This sentiment was reflected by multiple participants in a Services Roundtable. One participant reflected that, across community and specialist services, there are:

not enough supports or funding for services to deliver things like therapeutic supervision … [and other] appropriate tools to do the job; [such as] ongoing training and development to make sure they keep up with evidence-based practices.340

Another participant said that their service is experiencing:

contractual arrangements that are getting tighter and tighter and tighter, with very little capacity for … therapeutic supervision, [and] capability development. All of those investments are required to be made out of increasingly constrained management and admin funding that is provided to services.341

A third participant observed that, while new professionals in their service do receive training, this is run infrequently and only provides a ‘very brief overview’ of working with victim-survivors.342

Professor O’Leary also gave evidence on the need to ‘educate the broader health system about these specialist issues’, including how to ask a victim-survivor about a history of abuse in a way that does not traumatise them.343 He noted that ‘there is much work to do in this space to ensure quality of service’.344

On the way to healing

This Chapter has canvassed what the Board of Inquiry has learned about the support needs of victim-survivors and secondary victims of historical child sexual abuse in government schools.

It is clear that support services are an integral part of helping victim-survivors and secondary victims to understand and manage the impacts of historical child sexual abuse. The Board of Inquiry has learned that there are many service offerings that can help victim-survivors and secondary victims with these impacts.

However, a number of challenges are resulting in inconsistent and sometimes poor experiences across these services.

Many of these challenges are systemic in nature and affect not only victim-survivors of historical child sexual abuse in government schools, but may also affect victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and other types of sexual assault, as well as service users more broadly. This is seen in the reports of other inquiries and reviews, which, after significant and expansive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, have found similar systemic challenges affecting other cohorts.345

The next Chapter, Chapter 18, Looking to the future(opens in a new window), sets out the recommendations that the Board of Inquiry believes need to be implemented to help contribute to victim-survivor healing, including (but not limited to) recommendations to improve support services.

Chapter 17 Endnotes

  1. Order in Council (Vic), ‘Appointment of a Board of Inquiry into Historical Child Sexual Abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and Certain Other Government Schools’, Victorian Government Gazette, No S 339, 28 June 2023, cl 3(e).
  2. Ben Mathews (ed), ‘The Australian Child Maltreatment Study: National Prevalence and Associated Health Outcomes of Child Abuse and Neglect’ (2023) 218(6) The Medical Journey of Australia..
  3. Ben Mathews et al, The Prevalence and Impact of Child Maltreatment in Australia: Findings from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (Brief Report, Australian Child Maltreatment Study, 2023) 14.
  4. James G Scott and Ben Mathews, ‘The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS), a National Survey of the Prevalence of Child Maltreatment and its Correlates: Methodology’ (2023) 218(6) The Medical Journey of Australia S5, S5; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 2,19, 24.
  5. Ben Mathews et al, The Prevalence and Impact of Child Maltreatment in Australia: Findings from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (Brief Report, Australian Child Maltreatment Study, 2023) 17.
  6. Ben Mathews et al, The Prevalence and Impact of Child Maltreatment in Australia: Findings from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study (Brief Report, Australian Child Maltreatment Study, 2023) 19.
  7. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 2.
  8. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 4.
  9. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 10–11.
  10. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 6.
  11. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 5–6.
  12. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 5.
  13. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 9.
  14. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 8.
  15. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 5–6.
  16. Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 5–6.
  17. Tamara Blakemore et al, Impacts of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on Victims/Survivors: A Rapid Review of Research Findings (Report, December 2017) 45, 55; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 5 [24].
  18. Tamara Blakemore et al, Impacts of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on Victims/Survivors: A Rapid Review of Research Findings (Report, December 2017) 56.
  19. Alexis Jay et al, Interim Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Interim Report, April 2018) 22.
  20. James Herbert et al, ‘Impacts of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: What We Have Learned from Research and the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Private Sessions’ in India Bryce and Wayne Petherick (eds), Child Sexual Abuse: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact and Management (Elsevier Science & Technology, 2020) 227–9.
  21. Family and Community Development Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations (Report, November 2013) vol 1, 63; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 3, 73.
  22. Tamara Blakemore et al, Impacts of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse on Victims/Survivors: A Rapid Review of Research Findings (Report, 2017) 43.
  23. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 13, 9; Statement of Lisa Featherstone, 5 December 2023, 7 [35].
  24. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 6 [28]–[31].
  25. Victoria, White Paper on Strategies and Structures for Education in Victorian Government Schools (FD Atkinson Government Printer, 1980) 7 [2.1].
  26. ‘Effects: How Early Childhood Trauma is Unique’, The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (Web Page, 10 January 2024) <https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/early-childhood-trauma/effects>(opens in a new window).
  27. Daniel Cruz et al, ‘Developmental Trauma: Conceptual Framework, Associated Risks and Comorbidities, and Evaluation and Treatment’ (2022) 13 Front Psychiatry 800687, 1–14, 3–4; Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-282 [34]–[46], P-283 [42]–[46], P-284 [1]–[21].
  28. Daniel Cruz et al, ‘Developmental Trauma: Conceptual Framework, Associated Risks and Comorbidities, and Evaluation and Treatment’ (2022) 13 Front Psychiatry 800687, 1–14, 1; ‘The Long Shadow of Childhood Trauma’, Nine to Noon (RNZ, 9 February 2022); Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-283 [7]–[46].
  29. See e.g.: Private session 29; Private session 26.
  30. See e.g.: Private session 23; Private session 14.
  31. See e.g.: Private session 15; Private session 20.
  32. See e.g.: Submission 34, 1.
  33. See e.g.: Private session 23.
  34. See e.g.: Private session 2; Submission 43, 1.
  35. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-282 [42]–[44].
  36. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 14 [70].
  37. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [38]; Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-199 [43]–[45]; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 12 [65].
  38. Tamara Blakemore et al, ‘The Impacts of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: A Rapid Review of the Evidence’ (2017) 74 Child Abuse & Neglect 35, 39; Shoshanah Lyons et al, ‘Developmental Trauma Close Up’ (Beacon House Therapeutic Services & Trauma Team, January 2020) 7.
  39. Family and Community Development Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations (Report, November 2013) vol 1, 72; Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 5 [22].
  40. Family and Community Development Committee, Parliament of Victoria, Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non-Government Organisations (Report, November 2013) vol 1, 72.
  41. Eden Thain et al, Conceptualising Child Abuse and Neglect Related Complex Trauma in Children and Young People: An Exploratory Pilot Study (Report, December 2022) 5.
  42. See e.g.: Private session 15; Private session 24; Private session 2; Private session 4; Private session 23; Private session 9; Private session 36.
  43. See e.g.: Submission 4, 1; Private session 3; Private session 11; Private session 15; Private session 31.
  44. Order in Council (Vic), ‘Appointment of a Board of Inquiry into Historical Child Sexual Abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and Certain Other Government Schools’, Victorian Government Gazette, No S 339, 28 June 2023, cl 3(e).
  45. Private session 9.
  46. Private session 9.
  47. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [15]–[20]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-6 [36]–[44]; Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 7.
  48. Transcript of Tim Courtney, 24 October 2023, P-22 [5]–[6].
  49. See e.g.: ‘Support Services’, Respect.gov.au (Web Page) <https://www.respect.gov.au/services>(opens in a new window); ‘Mental Health Services Directory’, Victorian Agency for Health Information (Web Page) <https://vahi.vic.gov.au/mental-health-services>(opens in a new window); ‘Sexual assault support services’, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Web Page) <https://services.dffh.vic.gov.au/sexual-assault-support-services>(opens in a new window); ‘Report Abuse If You’re a Current or Former Student’, VIC.GOV.AU (Web Page) <https://www.vic.gov.au/report-abuse-if-youre-current-or-former-student>(opens in a new window); ‘Victims of Crime’, Victims of Crime (Web Page) <https://www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au>(opens in a new window).
  50. Submission 47, LOUD fence Inc, 4.
  51. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-23 [28]–[36]; Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 7.
  52. Submission 17, 1.
  53. Submission 17, 1.
  54. Document prepared by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety in response to a Notice to Produce, ‘Support Services for Victim-survivors of Historical Child Sexual Abuse’, 4 October 2023, 18 [120].
  55. ‘Blue Knot Helpline and Redress Support Service’, Blue Knot (Web Page) <https://blueknot.org.au/survivors/blue-knot-helpline-redress-support-service>(opens in a new window).>.
  56. Statement of Kelly Stanton, 3 November 2023, 6 [21].
  57. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-23 [13]–[14].
  58. Transcript of Tim Courtney, 24 October 2023, P-21 [5]–[8].
  59. Transcript of Tim Courtney, 24 October 2023, P-21 [14].
  60. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-8 [5]–[7].
  61. Statement of Elly Gay, 3 November 2023, 6 [20]–[21].
  62. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 179; Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences (Report, September 2021) 148 [7.32].
  63. Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences (Report, September 2021) 149; Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) vol 1, 489.
  64. See e.g.: State Government of Victoria, ‘Sexual Assault’, Victims of Crime (Web Page, 27 November 2023) <https://www.victimsofcrime.vic.gov.au/sexual-assault>(opens in a new window).
  65. See e.g.: ‘National Redress Scheme’, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Web Page) <https://www.vic.gov.au/national-redress-scheme>(opens in a new window).
  66. See e.g.: ‘Sexual Assault’, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Web Page) <https://services.dffh.vic.gov.au/sexual-assault>.(opens in a new window)
  67. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 123.
  68. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 123.
  69. Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) Summary and Recommendations, 8, 11.
  70. Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences (Report, September 2021) 144 [7.14] – 145 [7.17].
  71. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-16 [10]–[13].
  72. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-8 [15]–[18].
  73. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 11 [51].
  74. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-28 [15]–[18].
  75. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 9 [42], 10 [45]–[46]; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 66–8.
  76. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-254 [20]–[21].
  77. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 1; Statement of Kelly Stanton, 9 November 2023, 4 [13(b)].
  78. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10–11 [46].
  79. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [39]–[47]; Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10 [45].
  80. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-29 [18] – P-30 [38].
  81. Services Roundtable, Transcript of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-14 [31]–[41]; Submission 46, In Good Faith Foundation, 3.
  82. Submission 46, In Good Faith Foundation, 9.
  83. Submission 46, In Good Faith Foundation, 9.
  84. ‘Victoria Redress Support Services’, National Redress Scheme (Web Page) <https://www.nationalredress.gov.au/support/explore/vic-redress-support-services>(opens in a new window).
  85. Document prepared by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety in response to a Notice to Produce, ‘Support Services for Victim-Survivors of Historical Child Sexual Abuse’, 4 October 2023, 4 [5].
  86. Transcript of Government Panel (Wendy Sanderson), 23 November 2023, P-266 [1]–[9].
  87. Document prepared by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety in response to a Notice to Produce, ‘Support Services for Victim-Survivors of Historical Child Sexual Abuse’, 4 October 2023, 5 [14], 6 [25].
  88. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-11 [27]–[31].
  89. See e.g.: Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences (Report, September 2021) xxv [44].
  90. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 65, 101.
  91. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-24 [30]–[40]; Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-9 [25]–[45].
  92. Private session 12.
  93. SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach (Report, July 2014) 13.
  94. Jan Breckenridge, Michael Salter and Elisabeth Shaw, Use and Abuse: Understanding the Intersections of Childhood Abuse, Alcohol and Drug Use and Mental Health (Report, January 2010) 38.
  95. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017)
    vol 9, 66–7.
  96. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-24 [30]–[40].
  97. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-24 [37]–[38].
  98. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 61.
  99. Private session 32.
  100. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 5.
  101. Victoria Police, Multidisciplinary Centres (MDCs) (Information Sheet) 1 <https://msau-mdvs.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MDC_Information_Sheet.pdf>(opens in a new window).
  102. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-7 [40]–[45].
  103. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-27 [30]–[34]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-7 [40]–[45].
  104. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-7 [40]–[45]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-27 [24]–[30].
  105. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-7 [30].
  106. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 147.
  107. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, Attachment LB-3, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, Minimum Practice Standards: Specialist and Community Support Services Responding to Child Sexual Abuse (Report, June 2023) 10.
  108. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10 [44].
  109. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 7 [34].
  110. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-255 [2]–[3].
  111. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-270 [31].
  112. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-270 [32]–[33].
  113. Transcript of Government Panel (Bill Kyriakopoulos), 23 November 2023, P-275 [15]–[17].
  114. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-11 [36]–[37].
  115. Antonia Quadara et al, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, December 2017) 75.
  116. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-23 [32]–[34]; Submission 33, 2.
  117. Antonia Quadara et al, Pathways to Support Services for Victim/Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Their Families (Report, December 2017) 94.
  118. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Transcript of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-11 [34]–[36].
  119. Services Roundtable, Transcript of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-15 [28]–[29].
  120. Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) vol 4, 107.
  121. Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) Summary and Recommendations, 8.
  122. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 8 [43]; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [39].
  123. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-20 [28]–[32].
  124. ‘National Survey Sounds Alarm for Patients and Psychologists after Mental Health Funding Cuts’, Australian Psychological Society (Media Release, 1 March 2023) <https://psychology.org.au/about-us/news-and-media/media-releases/2023/national-survey-sounds-alarm-for-patients-and-psyc>(opens in a new window).
  125. ‘Patient Experiences, 2022– 23’, Australian Bureau of Statistics (21 November 2023) <https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-services/patient-experiences/latest-release>(opens in a new window).
  126. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-14 [36]–[41].
  127. Statement of Kelly Stanton, 9 November 2023, 11 [44].
  128. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-10 [1]–[5].
  129. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 15 [79].
  130. Submission 33, 2.
  131. Submission 33, 2.
  132. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-251 [5]–[14]; Statement of Kelly Stanton, 9 November 2023, 11 [44]; National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence, Standards of Practice Manual for Services Against Sexual Violence (3rd ed, 2021) 81.
  133. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-253 [12]–[16].
  134. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 7 [44].
  135. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-15 [40]–[45].
  136. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-14 [39]–[41].
  137. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [22]–[24].
  138. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 4.
  139. Statement of Kelly Stanton, 9 November 2023, 14 [47(d)].
  140. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 69; Claire Grealy et al, Capturing Practice Knowledge from the Royal Commission Support Model: Final Report (Report, December 2017) 17; Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) vol 2, 371; Victorian Law Reform Commission, Review of the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Report, July 2018) 309 [13.210], 310.
  141. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 December 2023, P-286 [28]–[29].
  142. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 December 2023, P-286 [34]–[39].
  143. Louise O’Brien, Corinne Henderson and Jenna Bateman, ‘Finding a Place for Healing: Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Their Experience of Accessing Services’ (2007) 6(2) Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 1446-7984, 1–10, 5; Transcript of Rob Gordon, 16 December 2023, P-286 [12]–[15].
  144. Louise O’Brien, Corinne Henderson and Jenna Bateman, ‘Finding a Place for Healing: Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Their Experience of Accessing Services’ (2007) 6(2) Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 1446-7984, 1–10, 5; Patrick O’Leary and Nick Gould, ‘Exploring Coping Factors amongst Men Who Were Sexually Abused in Childhood’ (2010) 40 British Journal of Social Work 2669, 2683.
  145. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 4; Submission 47, LOUD fence Inc, 3.
  146. Private session 11.
  147. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [38].
  148. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-287 [8]–[19].
  149. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-287 [14]–[16].
  150. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017)
    vol 9, 69–70.
  151. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-252 [31]–[39].
  152. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 4.
  153. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [37]–[44].
  154. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-14 [30]–[35], P-16 [30]–[35].
  155. ‘Mental Health Care and Medicare’, Services Australia (Web Page) <https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/mental-health-care-and-medicare?context=60092>(opens in a new window).
  156. ‘Additional 10 MBS Mental Health Sessions during COVID-19’, Department of Health and Aged Care (Fact Sheet) <https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-06/additional-10-mbs-mental-health-sessions-during-covid-19-faqs-for-consumers.pdf>(opens in a new window).
  157. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10 [45].
  158. Linda M Williams, ‘Understanding Child Abuse and Violence against Women: A Life Course Perspective’ (2003) 18(4) Journal of Interpersonal Violence 441, 442–3.
  159. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 3, 9.
  160. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-78 [6]–[10].
  161. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 10 [49].
  162. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 10 [67]; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 4 [20]; Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 December 2023, P-236 [15]–[19].
  163. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 10 [67].
  164. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 4 [19]; Transcript of Rob Gordon, 16 December 2023, P-274 [30].
  165. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 10 [67]; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 4 [19].
  166. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 10 [67].
  167. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 34.
  168. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 9 [44].
  169. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 9 [46].
  170. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-199 [45] – P-200 [5].
  171. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-201 [10]–[20].
  172. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [38].
  173. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-10 [5]–[10].
  174. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-17 [34]–[35].
  175. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10 [45].
  176. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 10 [45].
  177. Private session 18.
  178. Private session 30.
  179. Private session 30.
  180. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-27 [40]–[41].
  181. Antonia Quadara et al, Pathways to Support Services for Victim/Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Their Families (Report, 2016) 95–6.
  182. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-9 [17]–[21]; Transcript of Tim Courtney, 23 October 2023, P-23 [4]–[10].
  183. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-9 [4]–[10], [17]–[21]; Transcript of Tim Courtney, 23 October 2023, P-23 [4]–[10].
  184. Transcript of Tim Courtney, 23 October 2023, P-23 [4]–[10].
  185. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 73; Submission 47, LOUD fence Inc, 3.
  186. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-20 [39]–[45].
  187. Statement of Kate Rattigan, 3 November 2023, Attachment KR-2; ‘Report Abuse If You’re a Current or Former Student’, VIC.GOV.AU (Web Page) <https://www.vic.gov.au/report-abuse-if-youre-current-or-former-student#specialist-support-services>(opens in a new window).
  188. Statement of Kate Rattigan, 3 November 2023, Attachment KR-2; ‘Report Abuse If You’re a Current or Former Student’, VIC.GOV.AU (Web Page) <https://www.vic.gov.au/report-abuse-if-youre-current-or-former-student#specialist-support-services>(opens in a new window).
  189. Transcript of Government Panel (Kate Rattigan), 23 November 2023, P-243 [19]–[26].
  190. Brahmaputra Marjadi et al, ‘Twelve Tips for Inclusive Practice in Healthcare Settings’ (2023) 20(5) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 4657, 1–11, 2.
  191. Brahmaputra Marjadi et al, ‘Twelve Tips for Inclusive Practice in Healthcare Settings’ (2023) 20(5) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 4657, 1–11, 2.
  192. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 73.
  193. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 15–16 [80].
  194. Chapter 7, Experiences of sexual abuse and its impact on childhood. See also: Ben Mathews et al, ‘Child Sexual Abuse by Different Classes and Types of Perpetrator: Prevalence and Trends from an Australian National Survey’ (2024) 147 Child Abuse & Neglect 106562, 1–15, 5.
  195. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-200 [18]–[46].
  196. Patrick O’Leary, Scott Easton and Nick Gould, ‘The Effect of Child Sexual Abuse on Men: Toward a Male Sensitive Measure’ (2017) 32(3) Journal of Interpersonal Violence 423, 423; Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 8 [55]; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December) vol 9, 140; Healing Roundtable, 29 November 2023, P-8 [16]–[26].
  197. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 6 [41].
  198. Patrick O’Leary, Scott Easton and Nick Gould, ‘The Effect of Child Sexual Abuse on Men: Toward a Male Sensitive Measure’ (2017) 32(3) Journal of Interpersonal Violence 423, 425.
  199. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 6 [41]; Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-200 [35]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-23 [38]–[46]; Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [16]–[26].
  200. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 8 [56].
  201. ‘Our History’, Centre against Sexual Assault: Central Victoria (Web Page) ; Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott, ‘Revolutionising the Everyday: The Transformative Impact of the Sexual and Feminist Movements on Australian Society and Culture’ in Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott (eds), Everyday Revolutions: Remaking Gender, Sexuality and Culture in 1970s Australia (ANU Press, 2019) 1, 3.
  202. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-75 [13]–[15].
  203. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 7 [46].
  204. Submission 29, Bravehearts, 1, 4.
  205. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-256 [40]–[45].
  206. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-16 [37]–[44].
  207. Submission 33, 2.
  208. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-23 [20]–[25].
  209. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 13 [52].
  210. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 13 [52].
  211. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 61.
  212. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 77–8.
  213. Submission 29, Bravehearts, 4.
  214. Statement of Kelly Stanton, 9 November 2023, 7 [27]–[28].
  215. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [40].
  216. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 13 [53].
  217. Submission 29, Bravehearts, 4.
  218. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 8 [40]; Submission 29, Bravehearts, 4.
  219. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 136.
  220. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 136.
  221. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-78 [8]–[10].
  222. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria.
  223. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-78 [10]–[14].
  224. ‘Peer Support’, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Infographic) <https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/brss_tacs/peer-support-2017.pdf>(opens in a new window).
  225. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 7 [50].
  226. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [43] – P-19 [7].
  227. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 13 [60].
  228. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-287 [38]–[43].
  229. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-14 [15].
  230. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [6]–[9].
  231. Transcript of Katie Wright, 24 October 2023, P-47 [37]–[40].
  232. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2024, P-13 [19]–[29].
  233. Private session 24.
  234. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [35]–[45].
  235. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-19 [24]–[29].
  236. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-14 [33].
  237. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, 13 [53]; Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-288 [1]–[2].
  238. See e.g.: Private session 19; Private session 23.
  239. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, 12 [52] – 13 [53].
  240. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2021, P-201 [37]–[39].
  241. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [2]–[3].
  242. Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-26 [10]–[15].
  243. See e.g.: Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-22 [10]–[15]; Healing Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [38]–[46]; Antonia Quadara, Mary Stathopoulos and Rachel Carson, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, July 2016) 94.
  244. Antonia Quadara, Mary Stathopoulos and Rachel Carson, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, July 2016) 94.
  245. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 14 [68].
  246. Judit Konya et al, ‘Peer-Led Groups for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: A Systematic Review’ (2020) Journal of Mental Health 32529864, 1–13, 10.
  247. Judit Konya et al, ‘Peer-Led Groups for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: A Systematic Review’ (2020) Journal of Mental Health 32529864, 1–13, 6–7.
  248. Judit Konya et al, ‘Peer-Led Groups for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: A Systematic Review’ (2020) Journal of Mental Health 32529864, 1–13, 7–8.
  249. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-288 [1]–[3]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-8 [2]–[25].
  250. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 13 [62].
  251. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 13 [62].
  252. Submission 22, 2.
  253. Statement of Maureen Hatcher, 24 November 2023, 3 [12].
  254. Statement of Maureen Hatcher, 24 November 2023, 5 [24].
  255. Statement of Maureen Hatcher, 24 November 2023, 5 [24].
  256. Statement of Maureen Hatcher, 24 November 2023, 4 [22].
  257. Submission 47, LOUD fence Inc, 2.
  258. ‘About Forgotten Australians’, Open Place (Web Page) <https://www.openplace.org.au/our-story/about-forgotten-australians/>(opens in a new window).
  259. ‘Social Support Groups’, Open Place (Web Page) <https://www.openplace.org.au/social-support-groups>(opens in a new window).
  260. Order in Council (Vic), ‘Appointment of a Board of Inquiry into Historical Child Sexual Abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and Certain Other Government Schools’, Victorian Government Gazette, No S 339, 28 June 2023, cl 3(3).
  261. ‘Community Action and Support Groups’, In Good Faith Foundation (Web Page) <https://igff.org.au/community-action-groups>(opens in a new window).
  262. Order in Council (Vic), ‘Appointment of a Board of Inquiry into Historical Child Sexual Abuse in Beaumaris Primary School and Certain Other Government Schools’, Victorian Government Gazette, No S 339, 28 June 2023, cl 3(d).
  263. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 14 [65].
  264. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-200 [33]–[35].
  265. Antonia Quadara, Mary Stathopoulos and Rachel Carson, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, July 2016) 210.
  266. Antonia Quadara, Mary Stathopoulos and Rachel Carson, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, July 2016) 61.
  267. See e.g.: Private session 19; Private session 30.
  268. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-201 [19]–[20].
  269. See e.g.: Private session 19.
  270. Antonia Quadara, Mary Stathopoulos and Rachel Carson, Family Relationships and the Disclosure of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Report, July 2016) 11.
  271. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-7 [1]–[5].
  272. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 14 [67].
  273. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-5 [24]–[28].
  274. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 14 [65].
  275. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-289 [12]–[25].
  276. Submission 33, 1.
  277. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 13 [63].
  278. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 13 [63].
  279. Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, ‘Sexual Assault Support Services: 38016’ (Document, December 2020).
  280. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2024, P-22 [16]–[22].
  281. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 7.
  282. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-9 [4]–[5].
  283. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-9 [6]–[9].
  284. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-6 [40]–[45].
  285. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-7 [34]–[35].
  286. Statement of Jane Sweeney, 10 November 2023, 6 [19]; ‘National Redress Counselling and Psychological Care Service: Victoria’, VIC.GOV.AU (Web Page, 31 October 2023) <https://www.vic.gov.au/national-redress-counselling-psychological-care>.(opens in a new window)
  287. Statement of Jane Sweeney, 10 November 2023, 4 [13], 6 [19].
  288. Statement of Jane Sweeney, 10 November 2023, 5–6 [18]–[19].
  289. Statement of Jane Sweeney, 10 November 2023, 6 [19].
  290. See e.g.: Submission 29, Bravehearts, 2; Donna S Martsolf et al, ‘A Meta-Summary of Qualitative Findings about Professional Services for Survivors of Sexual Violence’ (2010) 15(3) The Qualitative Report 489, 494; Louise O’Brien, Corinne Henderson and Jenna Bateman, ‘Finding a Place for Healing: Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Their Experience of Accessing Services’ (2007) 6(2) Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 1446-7984, 1–10, 5; Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-11 [27]–[33], P-14 [30]–[34]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-9 [36]–[40]; Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 8 [43].
  291. Transcript of Rob Gordon, 23 November 2023, P-286 [8]–[16].
  292. Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-7 [17]–[19].
  293. Statement of Rob Gordon, 22 November 2023, 9 [41].
  294. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-76 [2]–[7].
  295. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, Attachment LB-3; Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, Minimum Practice Standards: Specialist and Community Support Services Responding to Child Sexual Abuse (Report, June 2023) 15.
  296. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, Attachment LB-3; Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, Minimum Practice Standards: Specialist and Community Support Services Responding to Child Sexual Abuse (Report, June 2023) 8.
  297. SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach (Report, July 2014) 9.
  298. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017) vol 9, 60.
  299. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 16 [84]; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 7 [36].
  300. Antonia Quadara and Cathryn Hunter, ‘Principles of Trauma-Informed Approaches to Child Sexual Abuse’ (Discussion Paper, 2016) 19.
  301. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-75 [40].
  302. Rosana Pacella et al, ’Child Maltreatment and Health Service Use: Findings of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study’ (2023) 218(6 suppl) The Medical Journey of Australia S40, S41–2.
  303. Kristen Havig, ‘The Health Care Experiences of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A Systematic Review of Evidence on Sensitive Practice’ (2008) 9(1) Trauma, Violence and Abuse 19, 20, 32; Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 10–11 [68].
  304. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Report, 2021) vol 3A, 155; Ann MacRae et al, ‘Trauma-Informed Care within Residential Aged Care Settings: A Systematic Scoping Review’ (2023) 38(12) International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 10.1002/gps.6028, 1–16, 6; Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 10 [48].
  305. Kathryn Browne-Yung et al, ‘“I’d Rather Die in the Middle of a Street”: Perceptions and Expectations of Aged Care among Forgotten Australians’ (2021) 40(2) Australasian Journal on Ageing 168, 170–1; Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 13 [65].
  306. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 10 [48].
  307. Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 8 [39]–[43].
  308. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-21 [39]–[40].
  309. Centre for Innovative Justice, Strengthening Victoria’s Victim Support System: Victim Services Review (Final Report, November 2020) 117.
  310. See e.g.: Lived Experience Perspectives Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-12 [5]–[6], P-29 [45]; Private session 22; Private session 23; Private session 29.
  311. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-76 [25]–[29].
  312. See e.g.: Private session 24; Private session 12; Private session 34; Private session 11; Statement of Daryl Higgins, 28 November 2023, 8 [43].
  313. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-74 [35]–[40].
  314. Transcript of Patrick O’Leary, 16 November 2023, P-201 [5]–[11].
  315. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, 6 [42] – 7 [44].
  316. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-76 [34]–[38].
  317. Statement of Joe Tucci, 21 November 2023, 7 [36], 12 [55].
  318. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-74 [35]–[40].
  319. Statement of Leah Bromfield, 23 October 2023, 15 [79]; Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-15 [29]–[34].
  320. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 3.
  321. Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 4.
  322. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-258 [8]–[11].
  323. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, 76 [34]–[38].
  324. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, 76 [34]–[38].
  325. Victorian Skills Authority, Victorian Skills Authority: Health and Community Services Industry Insight (Report, October 2022) 5–6.
  326. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-270 [43]–[46], P-271 [14]–[16].
  327. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-270 [40]–[45].
  328. Transcript of Government Panel (Bill Kyriakopoulos), 23 November 2023, P-271 [14]–[16].
  329. Response to invitation for additional information, Government Roundtable, 14 December 2023, received 29 December 2023, 2.
  330. Government Roundtable, Summary of Themes, 5.
  331. Government Roundtable, Summary of Themes, 5.
  332. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-257 [38]–[41].
  333. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-16 [10]–[15].
  334. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-16 [6]–[10], P-18 [29]–[35].
  335. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 1 December 2023, P-31 [26]–[28].
  336. Transcript of Leah Bromfield, 24 October 2023, P-77 [9]–[15].
  337. Transcript of Government Panel (Kelly Stanton), 23 November 2023, P-257 [41]–[45]; Submission 40, Sexual Assault Services Victoria, 3; Document prepared by the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety in response to a Notice to Produce, ‘Support Services for Victim-Survivors of Historical Child Sexual Abuse’, 4 October 2023, 5 [17].
  338. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-16 [17]–[20].
  339. Submission 29, Bravehearts, 4.
  340. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-16 [17]–[20].
  341. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-17 [20]–[24].
  342. Services Roundtable, Record of Proceedings, 29 November 2023, P-18 [40].
  343. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, P-10 – P-11 [68].
  344. Statement of Patrick O’Leary, 15 November 2023, P-10 [66].
  345. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Final Report, December 2017); Victorian Law Reform Commission, Improving the Justice System Response to Sexual Offences (Report, September 2021); Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (Final Report, February 2021) vol 4, 107.

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