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Advocacy, support and therapeutic treatment services

This volume examines what we learned about the advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment service needs of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in institutional contexts, and outlines recommendations for improving service systems to better respond to those needs and assist survivors towards recovery.

Summary

This volume examines the advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment service needs of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in institutions and makes recommendations for how best to meet these needs. Through public hearings, private sessions, research and consultation processes, we have gained an understanding of the diverse needs of children and adults who experienced childhood sexual abuse in institutions and the strengths and weaknesses of service systems in responding to those needs.

Throughout our inquiry, we often heard that institutional child sexual abuse has occurred alongside child sexual abuse in familial or community contexts. Many survivors told us the impacts of the sexual abuse they experienced in institutions were compounded by sexual abuse they experienced elsewhere. Our work has made us aware of the needs of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in non-institutional settings and we identified gaps in services that affect all groups of survivors.

We recognise that the services and systems responses we have considered will in many circumstances be applicable to all survivors of child sexual abuse, no matter what the context of the abuse. While we have identified essential responses for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, it is unrealistic in some situations for advocacy and support and therapeutic treatment services to only be provided to institutional survivors. A number of our recommendations are therefore applicable to service systems for all victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.

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