Workshop to combat child sexual assault
CHILD sexual assault may be a difficult topic to discuss but it is something the community needs to face according to counsellors from the Whitsunday Crisis and Counselling Service (WCCS).
WCCS counsellor Leah Anderson said the organisation saw on average 8-10 families per week who were affected by child sexual assault.
“This issue is in our community and therefore needs a whole of community response,” she said.
With this in mind and through the support of the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, WCCS has been successful in bringing two specialist training programs to the area, created by national child protection advocates Bravehearts.
The first program is a two-hour Supporting Hands: Introduction to Child Sexual Assault workshop, designed to create change and empower the community at large.
The workshop will be held on Monday, October 14, from 6-8pm at the Whitsunday Christian College. It is free and open to all members of the community to attend. Bravehearts founder and executive director Hetty Johnston said every organisation that worked with children had a duty of care and responsibility to protect them.
“Supporting Hands provides general information on child sexual assault, addresses risk factors and how to avoid them [as well as the issues of] what predatory behaviour looks like, how to respond to disclosures, how to identify indicators of harm in children and much more,” she said.
WCCS counsellor Mandy Coles said the workshop would be helpful to anyone who came into contact with children.
“This program is to give the community the tools to be able to confront the issue,” she said.
Airlie Beach Rotarian Steve Anderson said Rotary was able to fund the workshop through advertising revenue from its local phone guide.
“And in simple terms it’s to support our community. We’ve been told how prevalent it [child sexual assault] is in the Whitsundays so this was seen as a much-needed service in our area,” he said.
For more information, contact WCCS on 4946 2999.
SUPPORTING HANDS: WCCS counsellors Leah Anderson and Mandy Coles are encouraging members of the community to attend the Supporting Hands Workshop on Monday, October 14, designed to provide the tools to combat child sexual assault.