According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2 in 5 Australians do not know where to get help for domestic violence. A December 2017 report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies showed in its survey of adult child abuse victims that most respondents sought help independently rather than through services provided to them or recommended to them by friends and family. The report, funded by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, noted both what kinds of support succeeded with victims and what kinds proved ineffective, or even damaging.
Victims often found support through:
What did respondents find helpful?
Workshops and events allowed victims to find support on their own as the need arose, rather than based on a schedule.
Victims found counselling particularly helpful when it educated them about trauma and exactly how trauma causes stress, anxiety, and depression. This knowledge gave them strategies for dealing with their symptoms. Counselling, and care in general, proved most effective when the care provider or counsellor seemed genuinely compassionate and competent in their approach. Survey respondents reported that this kind of care made them feel empowered and self-confident.
Helplines and internet groups proved useful because they allowed victims help when the need struck, as opposed to weekly one hour visits which did not give the same flexibility.
Victims also pointed out that they felt validated by the compensation they received for their suffering.
What did respondents not find helpful?
Victims felt providers were least helpful when they did not treat them as individuals with unique needs and a story of their own. Some felt they had to adapt to fit in with their support system where the support system should have tailored to their needs. Furthermore, they found support could have the opposite effect when service providers seemed as if they did not care or that they lacked professionalism.
If you have questions about child abuse, or have experienced sexual violence of any kind, get in touch with Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation Lawyers. We act with competence and compassion for victims of sexual assault to ensure they receive justice and are well compensated for their suffering.