Giving hope through healing
WOLLONGBAR-BASED Heartfelt House has been providing life-changing support and healing to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse across the Lismore-Ballina region for almost 15 years.
Heartfelt House has always relied on public donations but I was able to secure Federal funding for this not-for-profit community-based organisation when I was Member for Page.
I am currently lobbying NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward for some State funding.
Heartfelt House does have partial Federal funding to keep delivering therapeutic group therapy programs to female survivors with the aim of introducing an all-male group next year.
To date, 43 groups of six participants have passed through Heartfelt House's doors to undertake a structured non-residential 18-week program for two hours a week, guided by two qualified group facilitators.
Participants are encouraged to continue their one-on-one counselling in tandem with this program. Heartfelt House provides support services to survivors and their non-offending family, friends and members of the community.
Heartfelt House's statistics, recorded since May 2008, show that 80 per cent of participants were abused within the family; 15 per cent by clergy; and 5 per cent by strangers.
Chief Executive Officer Kate Loubet tells me Heartfelt House currently have a waiting list of 30 people for three to four planned courses next year, which underlines the organisation's solid reputation for helping people cope with trauma and build resilience.
Kate is not one to boast but she holds a First Class Honours Degrees in Social Sciences from Southern Cross University and was a panel member for the resilience session of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Heartfelt House's mission statement reads: To provide an environment that is conducive to healing where adult survivors of child sexual abuse can feel heard, nurtured, understood, validated, supported and accepted.
Kate is assisted by Program Development Facilitator Vanessa Lingard and Finance Office Manager Carolyn Maunder and all staff are part-time, reporting to an experienced board of seven.
More information about services offered by Heartfelt House can be found on its website www.heartfelthouse.org.au or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0266 288 940 (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).