How we help

The Centre Against Violence offers free, specialist family violence crisis intervention services and short term case management to all people, including LGBTQIA+ people and children, who are experiencing current family violence crisis.  

 

Our team supports people to work toward living a life free from violence through a care coordination approach tailored to your needs and situation. We offer a range of support services including access to crisis accommodation, police advocacy, safety improvements to your home, material aid and specialist referrals.

If children are impacted by family violence we can provide specialist support through our partner agencies.

The definition and types of violence provided here is the one used by Safe and Equal (the Victorian peak body for specialist family violence services)

 

Family violence – also known as domestic violence or abuse – is any abusive behaviour that is used to control someone in a family, family-like or intimate relationship, and makes that person afraid for their safety and wellbeing or the safety of another person.

 

Family violence very rarely happens as a single incident, rather, it is a pattern of ongoing behaviour that can include multiple tactics used to intimidate, control and abuse someone. The frequency and severity of family violence can change over time and can impact other members of the family or household. If a child witnesses abusive behaviour or is exposed to the impacts of this, they are a victim survivor of family violence in their own right and can access specialised children’s support through our partner agencies.

 

Family violence can take many different forms and happens in all kinds of family or intimate relationships across all ages, communities and cultures. Some examples of forms of family violence include;

 

  • physical assault (such as punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking)
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • isolation from family, friends and/or social networks
  • controlling access to money or how it is spent
  • emotional and psychological abuse (eg constant criticisms, name-calling, belittling and putdowns)
  • preventing practising of cultural or spiritual beliefs
  • intimidation
  • making threats
  • harming pets
  • intentionally damaging property and belongings
  • any behaviour that causes someone to live in fear

 

Some of the above behaviours are criminal offences, such as stalking, physical assault, sexual assault, threats, animal abuse, property damage and theft. Behaviours that are not necessarily criminal may still be considered family violence and can be the subject of a family violence intervention order in Victoria. If this intervention order is breached this can also result in criminal charges.

Experiencing abuse, violence or controlling behaviour in any relationship is scary. It can be hard to know what to do or where to get help. It can be even harder when the person using violence against you is someone you care about and is someone who is supposed to care about you. We believe gaining safety and control in your life is your fundamental human right. You are the right to make choices that support your daily safety and recovery from abuse.

 

It is important to know that you are not alone and we can help guide you to find the right support for you. We offer a range of support services to strengthen your safety and support your recovery, including access to refuge and crisis accommodation, police advocacy, safety improvements to your home, material aid and specialist referrals.

 

We provide support and assistance to people experiencing family violence in the Ovens Murray region and 24 hour crisis care support. For immediate assistance contact the Orange Door on 1800 271 157. If you require our immediate support outside of business hours please call Safe Steps 1800 015 188.

 

You could also consider telling someone you trust and ask for their help – a friend, family member, professional or neighbour.

 

Always call the police on 000 in an emergency.

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The Centre Against Violence – Centre Against Sexual Assault provides support for people who have experienced or have been impacted by sexual assault both recently and in the past.

 

Our Counsellor Advocates at CASA will support you to make decisions and access support you may need in the aftermath of a sexual assault. We understand that everyone’s circumstances are unique and we will work with you to find a pathway to support and justice that suits you at your pace.

 

For further information about sexual assault, what constitutes sexual assault and how it impacts individuals, keep reading below.

 

Please note, CASA is a counselling service and not a sexual abuse investigation service. We are focused on supporting people to manage the trauma related impacts of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is any behaviour of a sexual nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable, frightened, intimidated or threatened.

 

Sexual Assault:

 

  • Occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent
  • Is about power and control
  • Is a crime
  • Is not the victim’s fault
  • Can happen to anyone; regardless of age, gender identity, sexuality, intersex status, relationship status, financial circumstances, faith, religion or cultural background
  • Most people know the person who assaulted them
  • Some people are assaulted by strangers.

 

Sexual assault can include: 

  • Someone showing you indecent images
  • Being forced to look at pornography
  • Being groomed online and/or asked to create sexual content
  • Being touched or kissed inappropriately or against your wishes
  • Sexual harassment
  • Being raped
  • Being forced into sexual activity with another
  • person, animal or object
  • Being pressured into sex or a sexual act
  • Sexual assault by an intimate partner
  • Any sexual act that makes you feel uncomfortable and occurs without your consent

We provide time-limited, free and confidential trauma-informed counselling in the Ovens Murray catchment area for adults, young people and children who have experienced or been impacted by sexual assault.

 

Our counselling services are client centred and offer a supportive and safe environment to gain an understanding of sexual assault, explore the impacts of sexual assault trauma and connect with personal resources to manage the effects and impacts of trauma. Our Counsellor Advocates are from multi-disciplinary backgrounds and are trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities that provide effective treatment for the impacts of sexual assault trauma.

 

Counselling for children and young people supports and strengthens the parent/carer and child relationship, and is likely to involve the parent/carer as we recognise how vital these relationships and roles are for children’s recovery.

 

Individual or family counselling may be brief, short term or longer term depending on assessed needs. We also offer counselling support for non-offending family members, carers and friends of people impacted by sexual assault.

 

Advocacy is a form of assistance beyond the counselling space. Many people find it hard to know what to do or who to contact after a sexual assault, and our Counsellor Advocates can help. We may make referrals and connect you with other services and supports that suit your needs, as well as connecting you with legal advice.

 

Counsellor Advocates can also advocate for your rights in settings such as police stations if reporting sexual assault to police, or hospital crisis care units if presenting to hospital after a sexual assault. We can also support you to navigate these processes and make important decisions.

We are available 24/7 for anyone in the Ovens & Murray catchment area who has experienced a sexual assault recently and needs immediate support. Our staff are on call 24 hours a day to attend to your needs and offer emotional support, practical assistance, and information about your options following a sexual assault.

 

Examples of these options include reporting to police, getting medical care and/or having a forensic medical examination at a hospital crisis care unit. We respect an individual’s right to choose the care and support they receive as well as the options they pursue following sexual assault at all times.

 

Contact our crisis care service, the state-wide Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) on 1800 806 292 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

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At the Centre Against Violence, we offer a range of therapeutic groups for people who have experienced sexual assault and have engaged with our support services.

 

We work with fathers for the benefit of their children and significant others in their lives. Focus is on fathers’ accountability, countering attitudes linked to abusive and neglectful behaviors, and promoting healthy relationships between fathers and their child(ren) and other parent/carers. Program principles emphasize the need to enhance father’s motivation, promote child-centered fathering, respectful, non-abusive co-parenting and recognise the children’s experience of trauma. The program uses a combination of motivation enhancement, parent education and cognitive behavioural therapy to improve recognition and prioritisation of child needs, respect and support for children’s relationships with other parent/carers, listening and using praise, empathy for children’s experiences of maltreatment and to identify and counter the distortions underlying fathers’ past, and potentially ongoing, use of family violence.

There is no fee for this program. The program involves 2 hours weekly for 17 weeks.

 

Caring Dads was created in partnership with the University of Toronto (Canada) in the fight to end domestic violence. Caring Dads is an internationally-implemented leading perpetrator-based program that is unique in its focus at the intersection of domestic violence and fatherhood. Caring Dads was developed in collaboration with child protective services, batterer intervention programs, children’s mental health agencies, women’s advocates, centers for children and families involved in the justice system, family resource agencies and probation and parole services.

 

University of Melbourne conducted a 3-year evaluation over three sites in Victoria between 2017-2020. Results included:

 

  • Positive impact on fathers’ parenting and co-parenting practices
  • Reduced risk of children’s further exposure to domestic and family violence
  • Increased ability for fathers to identify the impact of their aggressive behaviour on their children

 

Eligible fathers:

  • Physically or emotionally abused, neglected, and/or exposed their child(ren) to violence, and acknowledge they need to be better fathers.
  • Have current access with their child(ren) and reside in Ovens & Murray region
  • Have or be willing to have MARAM completed.
  • May have their own history of trauma.
  • May have criminal history but no reports of sexual offences.
  • Any mental illness or AOD concerns are managed.
  • Are able to sit in a group setting for two hours.
  • Eligibility is further determined during a screening interview.

 

How to refer

 

Referrals can be made to omcasaintake@cav.org.au

 

We accept referrals from individuals and from external referrers. Our service will be seeking information relating to parenting history, including current IVOs, Family Court or Children’s Court orders. CAV will be advocating for participants to have active case management and for case managers to be actively engaged with Caring Dads facilitators.

The purpose of the program is to support participants to address the experience and impacts of past sexual abuse. With the goal to improve personal and relational well-being in the present. 

This group is to support participants to address the experience of sexual assault that are looking for a new positive way to connect with their own bodies. 

This group is for people 16 years and over that have experienced sexual violence, have had initial assistance, but are looking for more support. The program will run each Friday from 1pm to 3pm starting on the 16th of September and completing on the 11th of November. 

 

During 8 sessions our facilitators will offer different activities and ideas to help each person leave the group with new things to help every day. Some topics include how trauma impacts the brain and body, some shared experiences of these impacts, how to communicate our needs and our boundaries to others and beginning to recognise and celebrate the things we care about in our lives, and ourselves. Each session will include talking as well as activities and there will be sensory/fidget gadgets available.

 

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Centre Against Violence provides assessment and treatment for harmful and problematic sexual behaviour that children and young people may exhibit or use. This service also supports and involves the parents and carers of children and young people.

 

The Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) program is a voluntary service for children and young people aged 5-17 years. Engagement of children and young people aged 10-17 can also be mandated by a Therapeutic Treatment Order.

 

The HSB program is an early intervention and therapeutic program for children and young people who have displayed or have engaged in harmful or problematic sexual behaviours and is funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

 

Our approach is collaborative, responsive and respectful to the individual needs of children, young people and families who are seeking support. We work alongside our service users to enhance their understanding of the behaviours, to support healthy decision making, and to maintain safe and respectful relationships.

 

Our overarching goal is to provide a safe space to process and understand what has occurred, and to build the skills and knowledge needed to engage in safer behaviours and respectful relationships in future.

 

Families and/or caregivers of children and young people participating in the HSB program are required to be involved in all aspects of assessment and intervention.

Referral for service can be made by:

 

  • Parents/carers of the child or young person;
  • Community organisations that have active involvement with the child or young person;
  • Police;
  • Health professionals;
  • Schools;
  • Government Departments and Statutory Authorities, including DFFH Child Protection, Disability Services and DET;
  • Courts.

Harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) is a term used to describe sexual actions that are outside what is safe for a young person’s stage of development. It includes actions that can harm either the child or young person themselves, or another person.

 

A child may exhibit sexually harmful behaviours by using their power, authority or status to engage another in sexual activity that is unwanted or where, due to the nature of the situation, the other party is not capable of giving informed consent. Sexual activity may include exposure, peeping, fondling, masturbation, oral sex, penetration of vagina or anus using penis, finger or object, or exposure to pornography.

 

Examples of Harmful Sexual Behaviours

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