Sexual Assault Support Services
I rise to inform the house of the important work the Andrews Labor government is doing for victim survivors of sexual assault, with more funding to provide more counselling sessions and crisis support. Recently I announced an additional $8.5 million over four years for sexual assault support services. This funding responds to increased community demand for these services across Victoria.
This funding boost provides $4 million for additional sexual assault support services, which covers crisis care, counselling, casework, advocacy and group work; $1.3 million for the Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria, a statewide after-hours confidential telephone crisis counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault; and $3.2 million for the Wyndham multidisciplinary centre, a wraparound support hub providing a range of critical services to vulnerable adults and children who have experienced sexual assault.
Services funded include Goulburn Valley Health, the Mallee Sexual Assault Unit, the Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA), Monash Health, Ballarat Health Services and the Barwon Centre Against Sexual Assault, as well as the Royal Children’s and Royal Women’s hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne. Investing in these services is expected to help almost 4000 victim survivors of sexual assault across Victoria over the next four years as well as significantly improve the response time for those who require after-hours support. This brings the Labor government’s support for Victorian sexual assault services to more than $28 million in 2018–19, an increase of $6.8 million or 32 per cent since 2014.
As one of the first states to join the national redress scheme, the Andrews Labor government has shown that it will continue to stand by victim survivors of sexual assault and provide them with the support that they need to recover and live a positive life. Our funding boost to our CASAs supports their important work supporting victim survivors in their critical journey to recovery, because every Victorian deserves to have world-best services and to be supported and cared for no matter where they live in our state.