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CASA referrals increase

  • Women's Health
Friday, 05 Jul 2024

South West Healthcare’s Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) has seen referrals to their sexual assault and therapeutic family violence programs double over the past 6 months.

Chief Executive Officer, Craig Fraser said 90 per cent of those referred to CASA in the six-month period were women and 41 per cent were under the age of 17.

“Our service has also seen an increase in enquiries and referrals for technology facilitated assault and image-based abuse – particularly in our younger cohort.

“It’s important for our community to understand sexual violence is harmful, pervasive, and preventable and these statistics are far more than numbers; they are stories of trauma, resilience and, unfortunately, sometimes of silence,” Mr Fraser said.

Reports show that early educational intervention for young people is crucial to improving understanding of and hopefully reducing the incidences of gendered violence.

South West CASA Manager, Megan Bragonje, said the service can provide education, training and secondary consultation to organisations, community groups and individuals around sexual violence, harmful sexual behaviour and family violence.

“Recognising the fundamental importance of early intervention, we’ve established a new Primary Prevention and Community Education role to provide this.

“A key focus for the new role will be engaging with the local primary and secondary schools and partnering with existing services to promote and educate children and young people about gender-based violence, affirmative consent and safety,” Ms Bragonje said.

CASA has also seen a significant increase in the number of adults self-referring for historical sexual assault, particularly as they begin to understand they have experienced violence and that their wellbeing has been impacted.

Ms Bragonje said statistics show that 74 per cent of female victim/survivors do not immediately realise they have been assaulted.

“As victim-survivors gain a stronger understanding of the prevalence and insidious nature of gendered violence, we are seeing more referrals which is the start of their recovery process,” Ms Bragonje said.

If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out to South West CASA on 5564 4144.

Page last updated: 2 July 2024

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