Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Walk The Talk - Stop Violence Against Women

Millions of women worldwide continue to experience injustice, violence and inequality in their homes, the work place and public life. Domestic violence is outlawed in 125 countries but still 603 million women worldwide live in countries where domestic violence is not a crime. There is no doubt that there is a global pandemic of violence against women and children. The details of what women and girls around the world are subject to are horrific from being raped by their teachers, to being jailed for adultery after rape to constant beatings by family and partners.

In Australia one in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. Almost one in five have experienced sexual violence. These women are our neighbours, our family, our friends, our sisters, mothers and daughters and in some cases us. They are the 1.2 million women or 15 percent of all women who have experienced violence at the hands of their previous partner. 16 000 plus who have endured violence from their current partner.

In Victoria we have been told that Victoria Police responds to close to 140 incidents of family violence every day. These occur in every suburb of melbourne from doveton to toorak - from hawthorn to epping. That is close to one incident every 10 minutes and those are only the incidents we know about. Australian Bureau of Statistics data tells us that onlyone in ten women report violence and of those very few report to the authorities. Most people tell a friend or family member. Two high profile murders of women have made us think that the streets are dangerous places whereas the reality is that women are more at risk from their nearest and dearest when they are at home.
But before we despair we know that things have started to change. Governments have started to try and deal with this plague of violence. The federal government has a ten year plan to reduce violence against women and their children. This plan commenced in 2012 and involves all the state and territory governments. The plans vary from state to state but they all have the same intention to reduce the level of violence, increase services and prevention programs and hold men accountable for violent behaviour.
In Victoria the government has invested $175 million to increase services, reduce and prevent violence against women. This money has been used amongst other things to
  1. Provide additional services for women and children leaving violent situations including increasing access to after hours services and support to allow women and children to stay at home safely
  2. Increase access to private rental programs and women’s refuges for women and children for whom it is too dangerous to remain in their homes
  3. Increase the use of the family violence common risk assessment pro forma to help people recognise situations which are highly dangerous and might end with a woman or her children being killed. We all know that the most dangerous time for a woman in a violent relationship is as she is leaing or just after.
  4. Develop violence prevention curriculum material for schools
  5. Increase access for violent men to behaviour change programs
Is this changing anything? I would argue it has and does. I can remember 40 years ago when the women’s liberation halfway house collective started the first women’s refuge using money from collective members. The women against rape collective took phone calls in the evening from women who had been raped recently. There was no service system. There was no government funding. There was no community awareness.

We had no money, no services and no government commitment. We did have something very powerful at that time. We had a firm belief that we could change the system. We knew we could fight and would win. We underestimated how long it would take. We must still fight and we will win. It just takes more time than we thought 40 years ago.
So what can we all do now to bring about more change. We can
  1. Call the police if we see or hear evidence of domestic violence
  2. Support a friend or family member who may be in an abusive relationship
  3. Volunteer at a refuge or other organisation that helps survivors or works to prevent violence
  4. Raise children to respect others.
  5. Raise boys not to be violent.
  6. Participate in events like this one today
  7. Volunteer in youth programs. Become mentors. Get involved in programs that teach children and adolescents about respectful non violent relationships
  8. Ask about anti-violence policies and programs at work and school
  9. Talk with our friends and respectful non violent relationships
  10. Challenge people who make sexist remarks or perpetuate myths about family violence and sexual assault .
Margaret mead once commented
‘Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For indeed that is all that ever has.” 

You are the few caring people. Go ahead and change the world.

Sunday, 8 December 2013


It is hard to understand why anyone would think it is acceptable to have pictures of children being abused on a social media site.  Twitter needs to address this problem immediately.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Voices of Hope - Nicoll

Nicoll was assaulted by a man who had contacted her on Facebook where her business had a page. Nicoll talks eloquently about the confusion women experience when unexpectedly attacked by someone you know in a different guise.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

One Step at a Time actor interviews: Richard Foster

The discovery that someone you love and trust has sexually abused your child is extremely stressful and can bring up intense feelings of shock, rage, confusion, denial, disbelief, and guilt. Dealing with these reactions, and helping your child recover from the abuse, requires time, strength, and support from your extended family, your community, and from professionals.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

One Step at a Time actor interviews: Dario Q

Tony's wife Yasmin is heavily pregnant. He is violent towards her. Her pregnancy makes him more violent. What is it that makes men like Tony violent at a time when his partner needs his support and consideration more than usual. Are they afraid of responsibility? Do they find vulnerability encourages their violence? Are they jealous of the attention a new baby and a pregnancy receives and feel left out? Are they just lost causes?

Monday, 4 November 2013

2 Weeks To The Launch of One Step At A Time

Gary lives in the same group of units as May and her 6 year old daughter. He appears, as Amy says, a good neighbour and a nice man. He shows an interest in Amy's daughter and often invites her over to his home. However, it become clear that he has sexually abused Amy's 6 year old daughter and Amy finds this both distressing and cofusing.

Most children are abused by some one they know who is trusted by their parents. We do not leave our children with strange people we do not trust. We leave our children with people who seem to have, as we do, their best interests at heart.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Kenyan Rape Victim - Liz

16 year old Liz was gang raped and thrown unconscious into a sewerage pit.  She has a broken back, internal injuries and is in a wheelchair.  The rapists were set free by the Kenyan police and made to mow the grass outside the police station asa punishment.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

One Step at a Time actor interviews: Matt Mirams

All of us who work in the sexual assault field have heard stories about men like David. They are predatory. They wait their time and then they attack. They are good at getting people into situations where they are vulnerable. Nicoll had met David over the internet and had a business relationship with him. They met in cafes. He manipulated her into visiting his home where she was easier to attack.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Defence Skype Scandal Sentencing Disgrace

Late last year General David Hurley Defence Chief delivered an apology to all people with the Force who had suffered sexual abuse.  Army Chief David Morrison subsequently made a video with an inspirational message about the importance of respecting women and telling his troops that if they could not do that they should "get out".  Following the recommendations after the DLA Piper review into abuse in the Defence Force and the review by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce was set up to assess and respond to individual cases of abuse with the Defence Force.  It is clear that the Defence Force has taken its responsibilities seriously around sexual assault with the Force.  It is a disgrace that they have been let down by the sentences handed down to the two young men Dylan Deblaquiere and Daniel McDonald who were involved in skyping consensual sex between another cadet "Kate" and McDonald.  Both men were sentenced and given a good behaviour bond

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Bayside Quilters Grant From Bayside Council

Bayside Quilters have provided more than 1 100 quilts for SECASA in the past four years.  Their Quilts From The Heart project brings joy and comfort to the adults and children who have been victims of sexual assault and family violence. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Support Group For Male Victim Survivors of Child Abuse Affected By The Royal Commission

SECASA is starting a support group for male victims of childhood assault affected by either institutional abuse or the publicity surround the Royal Commission. You do not have to make a submission to the Royal Commission to join this group. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Five Weeks To Go To Launch Of One Step At A Time

May is the mother of a six year old sexually assaulted by a neighbour. Although May believes her daughter and is supportive of her disclosure May is confused. The neighbour, Gary, seems such a nice man. But if he did not present as a good neighbour and a person who could be trusted then May would have not been happy with her daughter going to his home with him. The view of paedophiles as strange old men is not accurate. They are usually people who can get close to families and their children and win their trust.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

6 weeks to go to the launch of One Step At A Time

Angela is Amy and Suzie's mother. She is in an unenviable situation. With her first grandchild on the way her son-in-law sexually assault's her younger daughter Suzie. Her older daughter Amy is angry with her Mother for reporting the rape of Suzie to the Police.

Monday, 23 September 2013

7 weeks to go to the launch of One Step At A Time

At 14 young women are between childhood and adulthood. They often have fun exploring how to relate to men with their close, trusted male relatives. Being teased and flirting mildly can be part of a close family relationship. Her brother-in-law does not understand this dynamic. He rapes Suzie following an evening playing scrabble and drinking. The consequences of this action affects the whole family.


Dissident Priest Greg Reynolds has been defrocked and excommunicated by order of the Vatican for preaching contrary to the teachings of the church in relation to gay marriage and women priests.  It is hard to come to terms with a priest being excommunicated for disagreeing with the Vatican when paedophile priests have not been defrocked or excommunicated for criminal and immoral behaviour.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

8 weeks to go to the launch of One Step At A Time

Yasmin's situation is very common. In a caring supportive relationship a partner will look after a pregnant woman and love the growing baby. In a violent relationship a woman is at additional risk of violence during this time. Yasmin's husband is not supportive. However, it is hard for women to leave especially when they are pregnant. They are vulnerable and often feel uncertain about being alone in the world with a small child to care for. She is both physically and sexually assaulted in the last part of her pregnancy.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Taxi Drivers and Sexual Assault

Most taxi drivers are hard working decent people but there are a number who are predatory and attack women.  The Taxi Directorate needs to take action about these drivers.  There needs to be training for drivers so that they understand that sexually harrassing women is completely unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is asking for sexual favours for a free taxi trip. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Girl Rising - International Day of the Girl (IDG)

IWG is a United Nations day declared to promote awareness of and action on girls rights and the challenges facing girls around the world.  SECASA is pleased to support the 2nd annual international Day of the Girl which has the theme Innovating for Girl's Education. IDG will take place on October 11th. To register to host an event go to the web site http://bit.ly/1b5uAzi.  IWG will also bring the public global launch of Girl Rising which is a film which shows the unique challenges facing girls and the creative and innovative ways they rise to these challenges.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick Apologies For Sexual Assault Mishandling and Abuse

Australia's most senior Orthodox rabbi has apologised for the mishandling and cover up of sexual assaults within the Orthodox Jewish community.  Rabbi Moshe Gutnick is the President of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australia. He has written to state Orthodox groups in Australia and New Zealand asking for the letter to be disseminated to rabbis and congregations on the Day of Atonement.  The Day of Atonement is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Rabbi Gutnick made the statement to perpetrators "You will be found. It may not be today, it may not even be tomorrow, but it will happen. There will be justice if not in this world, most definitely in the next."

Rabbi Gutnick should be congratulated on making such a definitive statement and demonstrating leadership in this area. This has been a difficult area for conservative religious leaders. Often they have been unwilling to take a strong stand. Rabbi Gutnick will stand as an example to other religious communities.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Nine Weeks To Go To The Launch of One Step At A Time

Like many people today Nicoll has a Facebook page which advertises her business.  After completing some website design work for a client she kindly agrees to go to his new home to give him some home decorating tips.  He rapes her. With 1.5 billion people on social networking sites this has become another way predators can look for victims. Just a new medium for old situations.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Ten weeks to go to the launch of One Step At A Time

Health and other professionals are in positions of trust with the general public. Often they are looked up to as people who deserve respect.

When a Doctor sexually assaults a patient it causes immense confusion. There is the doubt about what happened. If it is a family Doctor other members of the family who go to that Doctor have views about what happened.  As well as a sexual assault it is a breach of trust. The trust that we put in people we expect to take care of us. Dr James breaches that trust with consequences for Rose his patient and her sister.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

11 weeks to the launch of One Step At A Time

Amy's life is turned upside down by a sexual assault that causes distress and anguish for her whole family. These are never easy situations for any family to deal with. Family's often have difficulty balancing their close, intimate relationships with people they trusted with the need to support the victim. It would be easier if it was black and white.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Twelve Weeks to the Launch of One Step At A Time

One Step At A Time is a drama about a day in the life of a sexual assault counsellor. The stories are drawn from the situations faced by the many brave clients seen at SECASA over the past three decades. None of the stories are actual clients histories but are representative of the type of trauma experienced by many woman in our society.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

One Step At A Time

SECASA has a DVD which has five stories about sexual assault and the type of situations that can arise.  The actors in the DVD are marvellous and capture the nuances of the various situations extremely well.  This DVD is due to be launched on Monday, 18th November 2013 at 6.30 p.m. It will be shown at Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton in the Main Lecture Theatre.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Tracy Connelly

Just over a week ago Tracy Connelly was murdered in St Kilda.  Tracy worked as a sex worker. This is a job.  Women have the right to be safe at work whatever work they undertake.  You wonder what sort of men think that they have a right to rape and kill women going about their work.  Sex workers have always been at an additional risk due to the dangers of getting into cars and going to unknown places with strangers. Adrian Bayley, Jill Meagher's killer, had a previous jail sentence for attacking sex workers.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Federal Department of Housing, Community Servicesand Indigenous Affairs (FAHCSIA)

FAHCSIA recently distributed some $45 million in funding to provide support for victims of sexual assault who wished to be involved with the Royal Commission. The funding was to provide support and assistance with dealing with the Commission.  The CASAs in Victoria did not receive any funding even though they tendered for $1.1 million.  The money went to three agencies who, whilst being excellent in their fields, are not experts in what is a highly difficult specialist area.  CASAs who have a well trained workforce used to dealing with sexual assault have been left with an increase in demand and no additional funding. Demand over the past year has increased between 10-25 percent depending on where you are in the State.  In a feedback session about the CASAs failed submission the main reason for not being successful was given by Federal bureacrats as not showing how the service system CASAs provide was relevant to the Royal Commission.  It is hard to work out how a 24 hour state wide specialist system that predominantly deal with victim/survivors of sexual assault would be irrelevant. Clearly for the Federal Government it is.

Yemeni Child Brides

A short video by a 11 year old Yemeni girl, Nada al-Ahdal, has clocked over seven million views bringing attention to the issue of the forced marriage of under age girls.  Nada ran away but the 12 year old girl who died after 3 days in childbirth labour was not so lucky. The Yemeni Parliament tried to pass a law restricting married to those 18 year and older.  This failed after opposition from hardline coservative MPs and a fatwa from a prominent cleric. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

ADF - Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office

The Australian Defence Force has established an independent office for victims of sexual assault and misconduct.  The Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office will take confidential reports from victims, provide support to victims and education to military personnel.  Victims will be able to choose not to report to police as can victims in civilian life. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Good Behaviour Bond For Father Who Raped Daughter

The average sentence in Victoria for rape in recent times is 4.11 months.  This seems light for some offences.  However, compared to the sentence handed down in New South Wales for a father who pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping his now 19 year old daughter between the ages of 9 and 14 years of age, the Victorian average seems reasonable. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Rabbi Boruch Dov Lesches

It is not acceptable that senior members of religious organisations ignore the law of the land and encourage other people to do so as well.  Rabbi Boruch Dov Lesches is reported (The Age 23.6.13) as having suggested that some of the victims of an alleged paedophile, accused of abusing boys at a Sydney Jewish school, might have consented to sexual relations.  This is just rubbish. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Law Reform Committee Inquiry Into Sexting Report May 2013

On 29th May 2013, the Law Reform Committee of the Victorian Parliament tabled its report on the Inquiry into Sexting.  The report contains 14 recommendations.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson and Time for Catholic Spring and Vatican III

Retired Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson has called for a 'Catholic Spring' to force the Vatican to respond to the issue of child sexual assault in a systemic manner.  Bishop Robinson was the architect of the Australian Towards Healing protocol introduced in every diocese in Australia except Melbourne.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Cardinal George Pell - Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into Child Abuse

It became clear when Pell was being questioned by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry that he did not understand all the implications of his past actions.  In trying to support his colleagues, including Ridsdale, he has come over as unsupportive of victims.  Given his position this is unacceptable.  It adds to the impression that the Catholic Church does not put victims first.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Rape of Children

A 40 year old Malaysian man charged with raping a 12 year old has been allowed to marry her following paying her family compensation. Children deserve protection under the law of any country from rape.  Allowing her rapist to compensate her family and subsequently marry her is not an acceptable solution under any religious doctrine or country's laws.  Trafficking in children is forbidden around the world. This arrangement amounts to buying a child for sexual purposes disguised as marriage. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Project Norma - Preventing the Sexual Assault of Older Women

Project Norma:Preventing the sexual assault of older women is a research project by The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at Melbourne University.  The researchers want to talk to women over 65 years of age about their experience of sexual assault in adulthood. Dr Catherine Barrett is in charge of the project.  She would value input from older women, family members if their older female relative is unable to talk for themselves due to dementia or illness and service providers who care for older women at home or in residential care.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Child Sexual Assault in Orthodox Jewish Community

This weekend in The Australian Magazine is an article about Manny Waks speaking out against child sexual assault in his orthodox Jewish Community and the consequences for him and his family.  As always the powerful men in the community would like to deal with this issue in house. Religious communities and large organisations such as Defence alway start out wanting to deal with matters in house often using the excuse that outsiders will not understand their religion, culture or general situaton.  Outsiders used to dealing with the sexual assault of children understand only too well that powerful men have friends and supporters and will alway try and silence those who bring their actions into public scrutiny.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Child Exploitation Material

It is distressing to find that your partner of a number of years and in some cases the father of your children has been accessing child exploitation material on a computer in  your home.  Sometimes the Police have taken away your computer and arrested your partner.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Australian Sign Language (Auslan)

The Victorian Government has guaranteed funding for the State's only sign language course.  It has provided for at least 700 enrolments.  SECASA has experienced the shortage of Auslan practitioners for a number of years.  It is important for the deaf community that there are adequate numbers of Auslan trained people. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Vincent Cicconi - Psychologist

Vincent Cicconi was found guilty by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal of professional misconduct for having a three year abusive sexual relationship with a patient 20 years younger than him.  A breach of a professional relationship is a cause for serious concern.  The patient abused by Mr Cicconi had sought treatment for depression and anxiety as well as having alcohol and drug. Mr Cicconi has been deregistered for 15 months.  This seems an extremely short amount of time in light of the length of the relationship he had with a patient. It would be inappropriate for a professional in a therapeutic relationship with a client or patient to become sexually involved with them.  To become involved with a person seeking help for substance abuse issues and depression and anxiety deserves censure beyond 15 months deregistration. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Public Transports Patrols to Shift to Trams and Buses

We know that people, and women particularly, do not feel safe on public transport at night. Given this it is amazing that the new Public Transport Victoria organisation thinks it is a good idea to move V/Line inspectors from on-board night-time security duties to morning ticketing policing.  This is in the interests of reducing fare evasion from 9.4 percent to 7 percent in the next year or two.  If this is at the expense of the safety of passengers on trains it will prove to be a false economy.

Simon Cooper

Being innocent until proven guilty is one of the pillars of our judicial system.  However being allowed to go overseas for two months for a family holiday when the prosecution initially opposed an overseas trip as an unacceptable risk must leave victims feeling that their interests and rights come second to those of alleged offenders.  Mr Cooper has been charged with sexually assaulting two males and will face court in August. It is to be hoped that the prosecution is now in possession of additional information that makes an overseas trip an acceptable option for the alleged offender.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Royal Commission On Child Sexual Abuse

The Royal Commission on child sexual abuse at a session at the  County Court of Victoria on Wednesday will outline its plans for dealing with the information it will hear during the next few years.  It will not take evidence but will look at how it will operate.  This is the first major sitting since the appointment of the six commissioners in January.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

John Laws Interview With Victim of Childhood Sexual Assault

John Laws is used to controversy about his radio program interviews.  The current issue is about an interview with a 44 year old woman who was sexually assaulted by her male family members from the age of 6 to 18.  There is an outcry about Mr Laws asking the woman if she thought she was to blame in anyway and another remark about the male offenders "having a good time with you."  Whilst offensive to many people the remarks did not upset the woman who rang back later to say she was not offended.  We have to give survivors of childhood sexual assault and adult rape some credibility.  John Laws has been running a radio show for several decades.  People who listen and ring in know his approach. 

Anonymous On-Line Reporting S.A.R.A.

The application Sexual Assault Reporting Anonymously that was launched on Tuesday 19th March 2013 has started to receive anonymous reports from victims of assault and harrassment. This anonymous information can be passed onto police anywhere in Australia. 

Sex Outside Marriage Laws

A 15 year old woman in the Maldives in facing 100 lashes in public following being found guilty of sex outside marriage.  There is something that defies logic about sentencing a young woman for a crime that only exists because it suits men to blame women for their bad behaviour. The 15 year old states that she was raped by her stepfather and others over a number of years. Her stepfather is charged with murdering the baby she bore. The Maldives is a popular tourist destination. However, under Sharia Law women and children are regularly punished for having been victims of childhood sexual assault or adult rape. One in three women between the ages of 15 - 49 have been victims of sexual or physical abuse. No rapists were convicted in the past three years. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

S.A.R.A - Sexual Assault Reporting Anonymously Application

SECASA has created a free app for iphones, ipads and Androids which allows people to report sexual assault and harrassment anonymously. It is also available on a website. Whilst unwilling to make a formal report for many reasons, people often suggest they would like to assist other people to avoid what happened to them.  This application will allow them to do that.  This app does not collect personal data unless you choose to give it but it will allow serial offending, unsafe areas and other information to be collected and stored by Emerg who assisted in the production of the app.  At regular intervals SECASA will pass anonymous data to Police around the country. 

Monday, 25 February 2013

One Step At A Time

Filming has finished on SECASA's new DVD One Step At A Time.  This DVD is a dramatic recreation of a number of sexual assault scenarios.  The DVD will be launched on Wednesday 3rd July 2013 at 3.00 p.m.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

We Will Not Go Quietly

We Will Not Go Quietly is a fabulous zine produced by Kate Ravenscroft and Mathew James.  Launched on Wednesday 20th February 2013 it provides a space for women and men who have been sexually assaulted to tell their stories.  There are inspiring stories and poems about survival in this publication. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Sexual Assault Report Anonymously S.A.R.A

Sexual Assault Report Anonymously S.A.R.A. is an app developed by Emerg for SECASA which enables you to report a sexual assault without having to reveal who you are.  Many people who have been sexually assaulted do not report to the Police or Crimestoppers. We know some people would like to pass on the details of the assault to warn other people about an unsafe area or place.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Brave Catholic Archbishop Jose Gomez

What a terrific example for the Catholic hierarchy. It is heartening to see a Catholic Archbishop take decisive action against another senior Catholic cleric.  For those of us who work in the sexual assault field with victims of clergy abuse it defies logic that the issue of the sexual assault of small children and other vulnerable people has been treated in a dismissive manner.

Perhaps Archbishop Jose Gomez's critics in the United States are right that he only acted because a court order released 124 files of which 82 contained child abuse allegations.  However, he did act decisively relieving the previous Cardinal of administrative and public duties and insisting on the resignation of the Cardinal's former right hand man regional bishop of Santa Barbara. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Rabbi Manis Friedman

There is a Youtube clip of Rabbi Manis Friedman talking about sexual assault which has caused widespread condemnation.  The comment which caused the most upset appears to be his remark about a young man who told his girlfriend that he had been abused in his childhood but did not feel damaged.  Rabbi Friedman then asked why the young man would have told the young woman and said that it is like having diarrhoea which is embarrassing but not something you feel you have to tell everyone.The problem is it is not always like a stomach upset that can pass and leave nothing in its wake.  Often, as Rabbi Friedman points, out sexual assault leaves a loss of trust and a vulnerability.  It is not helpful for victims to have uninformed comments made about their situation. Rabbi Friedman demonstrates a limited understanding of the effects and long term consequences of sexual assault.He remarked that telling a victim it is not their fault is not helpful as victims know it is not their fault.  Unfortunately that is not true.  Many victims groomed as children do not know it is not their fault or if they know it intellectually they do not feel it.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Restorative Justice and Sex Offences

Greg Barnes, a barrister and director of the Australian Lawyers Alliances, raised the issue in The Age today about the possibility of legislating for an alternative system involving mediation and therapeutic justice for sex offences.  There are times at SECASA when victims have asked for a family conference with an offending family member.In several countries there are various types of mediated approaches for sex offences.  It would not be a step forward to legislate for these types of conferences based on the seriousness of the offence.  The problem with categorising offences into serious and non serious is that it ignores the compexities of the situation when the abuse is intra familial.  Whilst supporting an additional set of options for victims SECASA would not support a mandatory mediated system based on penetrative or non penetrative offences.  As we can see from the current distress around the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Into The Handling of Sexual Abuse of Children in Religious and Other Non Government Organisation and the recently establish Royal Commission victims have very strong views on what should happen to offenders.  Any alternate system need to be driven by victims. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sex Abuse Inquiries

We know it has been difficult for many people to give evidence before the Victorian
 Parliamentary Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other non government organisations.  It would be sensible if those who would like their evidence, which they gave to the Victorian Inquiry, passed onto the Royal Commission could have that done for them. Obviously some people would like the opportunity to give evidence again.  For those for whom this will be an onerous task it would be good if the State and Federal authorities worked out how transcripts and submissions could be passed between them.

Friday, 11 January 2013


It is tempting when faced with heinous crimes to want to see the perpetrators punished in a way that makes them suffer like the victim.  One of the criteria by which we can judge a democracy is how they deal with their worst criminals.  SECASA works with the consequences of many violent crimes.  We support people through their recovery and healing. We can understand why some victims and their families and friends might want extreme penalties for offenders.  However, we will all suffer if we allow extreme crimes such as Jill Meagher’s murder, the young rape victim in India’s death or a child’s rape to be used to support calls to bring back the death penalty or excessive penalties that allow no opportunity for rehabilitation.