A workshop on child protection has been held in Casino this week.
A workshop on child protection has been held in Casino this week. Cade Mooney

The critical factor in helping victims of child sex abuse

TWO days of workshops have been held to broaden education around reporting child sexual assault and supporting families through those difficult circumstances.

The Aboriginal Community Engagement workshops have been delivered in Casino this week through the Joint Child Protection Response Program.

That program was developed as part of an interagency effort to address child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities.

About 70 people were expected to attend the two-day event, which was also a response to requests from Aboriginal commuities for more information on how the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, police and NSW Health conduct the JCPRP.

The workshop was held at Casino RSM this week.

JCPR statewide services director Cherie Smith said the workshops allowed participants to discuss sensitive issues, including around managing child abuse disclosures, in a safe space.

"One of the strengths of the engagement training is the informal interactions between Community and JCPRP representatives, building relationships is critical to the ongoing protection and safety of vulnerable children and young people,” Ms Smith said.

"We want to help participants gain a better understanding of the disclosure process and the impact of serious child abuse, and what a coordinated response from agencies involves.”

NSW Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad commander, Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec, said it was vital to make young people feel safe about reporting abuse.

"As always, any victim of child sexual abuse - whatever the circumstances and no matter when it occurred - is encouraged to report it to police so perpetrators can be brought to justice,” he said.

Northern NSW Local Health District's violence, abuse and neglect manager, Tamahra Manson, said the workshops could help to strengthen support for young people who had disclosed abuse, or are at risk.

"We know that Aboriginal children are over-represented in the child protection system, and families often carry intergenerational trauma which can have an impact on children,” Ms Manson said.

"It's really important that we support the whole family, and upskilling our local community in how to respond and steer people into this support is one of the key aims of these days.”

Police, FACS and Aboriginal Health representatives were involved with the workshop along with community members and other organisations.

The workshops, which have bene running in NSW for eight years, were in part facilited by the NSW Health Education Centre Against Violence.



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