Ballarat CASA share in $5.7 million state funding for Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services

Ballarat’s Centre Against Sexual Assault will receive $280,000 over the next three years to help young people who present with sexually abusive behaviour. 

Ballarat CASA manager Shireen Gunn

Ballarat CASA manager Shireen Gunn

Ballarat Health Services will be one of 11 health bodies across the state to take a cut from more than $5.7 million in funding for support services which aim to work with individuals between the ages of 15 and 17 who present a risk to other children.   

The treatment which is accessed voluntarily or through a court order and was among the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.   

Ballarat CASA manager Shireen Gunn said the funding was crucial to fixing what had been a gap in services.  The organisation has been providing a similar service to adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 since 2007.   

“We see this as really important funding in addressing prevention of assault,” Ms Gunn said.  

“In working with young kids in the past, they may not have exposed to sexual abuse themselves but there would be some form of trauma in their backgrounds.”  

The treatment process, which can run from six months to beyond a year, involves engaging the families, carers and schools of the individuals.  

The service funded as part of the state government’s $1.9 billion family violence package announced in the 2017/18 budget and has already begun operation at CASA. 

More than 1500 children from across the state were admitted into Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services programs in the 2016/17 financial year, 36.41 per cent of whom identified as having been exposed to family violence.  The new funding will allow for a further 535 admissions statewide.

In a statement, Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos said “this is about addressing destructive behaviour from an early age, to ensure we are rehabilitating young people and setting them on the right path”. 

“It’s about providing the family and other key people supporting the young person with the right tools to address the problem.”