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Free counselling offered for child sexual abuse victims

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Brisbane on Monday, February 17, 2014.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Brisbane on Monday, February 17, 2014. THURTELL PHOTOGRAPHY

CHILD sexual abuse victims whose traumatic experiences have been affected by the ongoing Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse can now access free counselling.

Funded by the Department of Social Services and facilitated by Interrelate, the counselling service is available to anyone who was under 18-years-old when they experienced child sexual abuse.

This abuse could have taken place in institutions including government agencies, schools, sporting clubs, churches, missions or even foster care.

In November 2013, The Royal Commission focused on the Anglican Church-run North Coast Children's Home at Lismore.

Need help? Go to the Interrelate's Royal Commission page, phone the Lismore office on 6623 2750 or, if you are outside the Northern Rivers, phone 1300 134 924

Between the 1940's and the 1980's it is alleged that at least 200 children living at the North Coast Children's Home were sexually or physically abused.

Interrelate area manager Julie Leete said the organisation had partnered with five key local agencies to facilitate the counselling program:

Royal Commission Community Based Support Services Clinical Specialists Jeannie O'Carroll and Monique Rutherford with Interrelate Area Manager Julie Leete at the launch of counselling services for victims of child sexual abuse. Photo: Rodney Stevens / Northern Star
Royal Commission Community Based Support Services Clinical Specialists Jeannie O'Carroll and Monique Rutherford with Interrelate Area Manager Julie Leete at the launch of counselling services for victims of child sexual abuse. Photo: Rodney Stevens / Northern Star Rodney Stevens

Royal Commission Community Based Support Services Clinical Specialist Monique Rutherford said she had seen clients from all walks of life.

"I have seen a whole range of people, from people who have been triggered by just hearing about the royal commission, then there are other people who may have been traumatised by abuse that happened in other places," she said.

Ms Rutherford said three counsellors at Interrelate were employed to engage with clients of all ages, from early 20s to over age 60.

"If you would like to tell your story and have it heard you can do that in a confidential space through the Royal Commission," she said.

"If you choose not to tell your story you can come along to counselling and somebody will help you make sense of what's happened to you.

"Some people want to tell their story, some are angry at the church, others can be aggressive, unmotivated, traumatised, isolate themselves or feel guilt over what happened."

Topics:  child sex abuse, counselling, interrelate, royal commission into child sex abuse



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