Child Sexual Assault Therapist Service
What is Child Sexual Assault?
Child sexual assault is any sexual act or sexual threat imposed on a child or young person. Child sexual assault includes a range of behaviours. An adult, adolescent or older child can use their authority or power to involve a child in sexual activities. This may include;
- Encouraging children to touch other people in a sexual way
- Exposing themselves to children
- Asking the child to expose him/ herself
- Showing pornography to children
Who are the offenders?
Sexual assault from strangers occurs, but the facts tell us that often the offender is someone the child knows and trusts. This can include family members, family friends or other people that the family knows.
Positions of trust and authority offer offenders opportunities to use their familiarity to manipulate children’s trust.
Important facts about Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a crime.
Family friends, family members or strangers may sexually assault children.
Sexual assault is NEVER the child’s or young person’s fault. It is not unusual for parents to blame themselves, but it is ALWAYS the offender who is responsible for the sexual assault. Each child reacts differently to sexual assault.
Let your child know that you believe them.
It’s important for your child to know that you believe them. The following messages will help your child understand that you believe them.
- Telling was the right thing to do
- I believe you
- It was not your fault
- I’m sorry this had happened to you
- The offender is responsible for what happened, not you
- I am glad you are talking to me about it
- Together we can stop this from happening again
Who is who?
Depending on the circumstances of your child’s assault and the wishes of you and your child, professional staff from several agencies may be involved. The roles of officers and professionals from each of the agencies are outlined below.
Department of Child Protection
- Receive and assess report of suspected sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse and neglect of children
- Refer to specialist team of Police officers
- Refer to Child Therapist
- Investigate and assess alleged abuse or neglect if children
- Interview child who has disclosed sexual abuse
- Help make sure children are safe
- Work with other agencies to ensure safety and protection of children
- Work jointly with officers from the Department of Child Protection to investigate the assault
- Investigate and decide if there is enough evidence to take criminal action
- Initiate contact with the child and/ or family and other witnesses and conduct interviews
- Put the matter before court where appropriate
Child Sexual Assault Services
- Provide Therapists specially trained to talk with children and parents about feelings and difficulties they may be having following sexual assault
- Assist, support and counsel children and their parents to help them deal with some of the effects they may occur after sexual assault
- Provide practical assistance to parents and children after the child makes known that they have been sexually assaulted
- Provide accurate information about the nature of child sexual assault
- Provide information about other services which may be helpful
Important contact numbers
Geraldton Police 9923 4555
Police 000 (in an emergency) or 131 444 (for enquiries/advice)
Crisis Care (24 hrs) 9223 1111 (metro) 1800 199 008 (country)