Sunday, 12 May 2019

New offices at St. Kilda are helping to expand access to SECASA services

SECASA has re-opened a St Kilda office in Grey Street, within the Salvation Army’s Crisis Services Network building. The space is light and airy, with three counselling rooms and a shared office for four SECASA staff.

Whilst the offices are now successfully functioning, challenges did arise during the set-up ­– something to be expected with any new endeavour. Issues with I.T. proved to be a problem and staff have found that parking around the area is limited at times.

However, all technological issues have now been resolved and clients report that public transport is extremely convenient because of the central location.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

"11 and Married: Malaysia Spars Over an Age-Old Practice" The New York Times

It is extraordinary in this day and age that anyone can think of a justification for marrying an 11 year old girl.  If it is a cultural practice from many centuries ago we live now in the 21st century and it is not acceptable even in poor, under-developed areas of countries where this practice once flourished.  It is just another way older and old men find to excuse having sex with children.  You do not find many, if any, headlines about 11 year old boys being married to old women. It is child abuse however it is explained.
Times article

National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders

It is easy to understand why many people would be in favour of the proposal by Home Affair's Minister Peter Dutton to spend $7.8 million on creating a national public register of child sex offenders.  The proposal is that this register would allow all Australians to see names, aliases, photographs, date of birth and the general location and nature of crimes. This is a dangerous idea. 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Additional Sexual Assault Funding

The Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Gabrielle Williams, announced an additional five-million dollars over the next two years to increase services for victim/survivors of sexual assault.  Nineteen services across the state including 14 CASAs will receive additional funding. 

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Malka Liefer

It is understandable that people have been upset about George Pell and the amount of publicity around his trial and subsequent conviction and sentencing.  But there is another just as outrageous situation where Malka Liefer has now had over 40 court hearings in Israel. These court cases are to fight against her extradition to Australia to face 74 charges of sexual assault of young women in her care when she worked as the Religious Head at the Adass School in Melbourne. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Client Distress Since the Suppression Order Lift on George Pell Verdict

The pressure on front line staff has not lessened in the past two days.  We are still receiving an additional 3 or 4 phone calls a day from distressed people either wanting to talk over the telephone or have an urgent appointment. Other regular clients have been additionally upset in counselling due to the media coverage of the Pell case.  For some people the blanket coverage has posed a problem. For others the coverage has been a reminder of their own experience, their experience of Catholicism, child sex offenders and abuse being swept under the table and general offending against children. 

Monday, 4 March 2019

Surging referrals since Pell conviction

It is wonderful to see the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister Kelly O’Dwyer that $338 million is being allocated to family violence.  However, sexual assault centres are struggling with the fall-out from the publicity surround George Pell’s conviction for child sex offences.  Whilst some sexual assault occurs in family violence situations a large proportion of sexual assault is not related to family violence.  The recent publicity has caused a surge in telephone calls to CASAs and also an increase in ex clients contacting services following their past difficulties with their own childhood sexual assaults re-emerging. There have been unusually graphic details about the actual sexual abuse in the media.  This is always an issue for people who have experienced similar abuse.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Self Care in The Post George Pell Conviction

We realise that these are difficult times for people who have been sexually assaulted in their childhood.  It is difficult to avoid hearing details of various crimes.  However if you are finding the situation overwhelming be kind to yourself and take care of yourself by
1. Limiting your exposure to the various media around including social media.  You do not have to read, watch or listen to everything if it is causing you distress.
2. Talk to a counsellor or close, trusted friend if you are finding it particularly hard.  Call 1800 806 292 which is the 24 hour Sexual Crisis Line.
3. Keep to a routine or establish a routine.  Make sure you get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat regular meals.  A routine can help you settle down.
4. Treat yourself to activities that you enjoy.  Watch your favourite show on TV, have a bath, listen to music, reflexology.  Have a massage if you enjoy them.
5. Meditate if that is an activity you enjoy.  We tend to meditate when we feel good not when we need to re centre ourselves.
6. If work is proving challenging take a day off and pamper yourself.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Catholic Cardinals Blame Child Abuse on The Plague of The Homosexual Agenda

The comments by the two conservative Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmuller are stupid and mischievous.  They may well have an agenda about homosexual priests. That is a separate issue to the sexual abuse of minors.  To use the abuse of children by religious men, in particularly powerful positions if you are of their faith, is nothing short of scandalous.  The Vatican, as their ruling body, should make a public example of such men. If religions want to have any credibility with many people they need to take the lead in dealing with the sexual abuse of children.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Malka Leifer

Yet again we are waiting to see if there will be any justice for the alleged victims of Malka Leifer.  It would be in everyone's best interest, including Ms Leifer, if she were to return to Australia and have the charges against her tested in court.  This would give her alleged victims and also her some ending to this long running saga.

New Bail Laws

The Victorian Government made amendments to the Bail Act in 2017 and 2018 in response to community outcry about people on bail commiting violent crimes. As often happens with legislation intended to solve one problem it has created another. Cathy Humphreys in an article in The Age on Wednesday 13th February 2019 argues that the tougher laws have led to disadvantaged women being refused bail and held on remand.  Humphreys states that these women were not being held for serious offending and that two-thirds of them were released from prison at the end of their remand time.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer was back in an Israel court last week for the 45 time in relation to 74 charges of sexual assault of students alleged to have happened when she was religious head of the Ultra Orthodox Adass girls school.